West End ‘insanity’

ANOTHER five-storey development application for Fremantle’s historic West End has been lobbed to the council’s planning department.

Just weeks after the council rejected Notre Dame university’s five-storey nursing unit on the corner of Cliff and High streets, CBD Rev Holdco Pty Ltd have proposed a 122-dwelling apartment project that takes in Customs House as well as the local Centrelink office.

• Artist’s impression of the latest five-storey development proposed for Fremantle’s historic West End.

With parking in the basement, the development would include 42 one-bedroom, 73 two-bedroom and 7 three-bedroom apartments, and several large internal courtyards.

The $40 million development takes in four properties, 2 Henry Street and 5, 7 and 9 Pakenham Streets. The four were all built during the gold rush, but only the facades remain. The developers have promised to restore the facades as part of the project.

The sticking point will be the town planning scheme, which only permits three storeys in the West End except under certain circumstances where a fourth storey can be considered.

The development will automatically be referred to a development assessment panel, but Fremantle council is planning a community information session on April 27 at 5.30pm in its reception room.

Fremantle society president John Dowson made his feelings known in an email to members on Wednesday: “The insanity continues,” he wrote.

by STEVE GRANT

3 responses to “West End ‘insanity’

  1. I’ll have a quick go Steven. You have to start by thinking about what the West End of Fremantle is, in an Australian context. It is a remarkably complete 19th Century urbanscape, which retains the essence of what this means. It’s a living museum; and this is important, because it is a functioning and workable collection of buildings that is rare in 21st century Australia. Many overseas towns and cities can boast similar precincts; but few in Australia can. This is the first important point. The second thing is that this is crucial because it has both economic and cultural advantages. The economic growth that Perth saw in the 60s; 70s; and 80s would have destroyed Fremantle’s West End if it had occurred here as it did in the State’s capital. We now have a chance to positively build on the magnificent streetscape we have inherited and – mostly – conserved. This can create significant economic advantages, because there is no doubt that Fremantle is now poised to grow its already significant Tourism marketplace. But this is only part of the importance of the West End. It is also a cultural reminder for all of us who live here. It is a symbol of our past achievements. Cultures that demolish their past, weaken their future; they lose contact with their heritage, in both a physical and an emotional way. And adding a couple of floors to an old West End building destroys its integrity; it alters the streetscape; and it alters the skyline. Look over Fremantle from the monument; or from the Town Hall; or from the Roundhouse. The roof-tops; and the old wall-parapet tops, are part of the heritage streetscape. They are what conservation is all about. We are talking about very fragile things Steven.

  2. I agree with Steven Doig. The new building is obviously new but looks like a nice architectural response. Alot better than the aweful work done in the 1980s’ when they demolished all the interior leaving only the facades behind. Would be good to get some residents in the west end to support all the local retail too!

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