Planners seethe over hotel snub

EAST FREMANTLE council was locked out of negotiations for the proposed redevelopment of the dilapidated Royal George Hotel and now fears the heritage precinct could be compromised.

As well as sprucing up the hotel for accommodation and commercial use, Saracen Properties—which bought the site from the state government—wants to build up to nine stories in the car park behind.

But it entered negotiations with the State Heritage Office without anyone telling the council, whose planners aren’t happy.

In what amounts to a bureaucratic dummy spit, they spent two paragraphs of a recent agenda describing how thoroughly they’d been snubbed.

• The Royal George has become derelict since the state government ripped it off East Freo council, which now fears there aren’t enough controls over develolpment at its back. Photo
by Jayden O’Neil

“The town has not had any involvement in any preceding discussions or drafting of the conservation management strategy,” the report read.

“It was aware negotiations were underway in regard to the preparation of the document but was unaware it had been commenced by the State Heritage Office having had no advice from that office…”

The planners say the council also asked to be in the loop over a heritage agreement, but didn’t even get to see a copy of the document which was developed by the developer and the state.

Now East Fremantle has discovered the conservation plan only covers the hotel and not the car park, and it’s worried that’ll further reduce its ability to influence the final development.

“This is of serious concern to the town because it is highly likely a DAP application will be lodged once the heritage agreement and lease are finalised,” the report read.

As a result, the council has proposed a scheme amendment to impose conditions on building heights and setbacks, noise management, car parking, public art and a raft of other issues.

The council has put the amendment out for public comment until September 11.

by JAYDEN O’NEIL 

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