NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY is playing hardball over the height of its planned $17 million nursing and midwifery school in Fremantle’s West End.
Next week the uni will submit a proposal to Fremantle council for a five-storey school at the south-west corner of Cliff and High Streets, despite the town planning scheme only permitting four storeys in the heritage precinct.
When the five storey plan was first unveiled at a public meeting last month, Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the height would be “challenging” for council, but after consulting with the WA Heritage Council the university has decided to press forward.
“There are very few scenarios where we approve that sort of height in the West End,” says Dr Pettitt. “But we take every case on its merits and will have to look at how far the fifth storey is set back.
“I know city officers were concerned it could be visible from the street and we’ll need to look at that very closely.”
The upper floors of the planned building will be home to the nursing and midwifery school and the ground floor will include a 200-seat theatre, a small cafe/bar on High Street, and retail on Cliff Street, accessible through the heritage “Wedding wall” facade.
Notre Dame released its controversial plan on the same day WA heritage minister Albert Jacob announced that Fremantle’s West End would be added to the state heritage register to provide more protection.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK