LETTERS 20.1.18

Another heritage blunder
FREMANTLE acting mayor Ingrid Waltham put out a press release (January 11) on the Manning Buildings, which dominate the city centre from Market Street around to William Street, stating that there would be a ‘sensitive restoration’ by Gerard O’Brien of the 28 shops.
She omits to mention that all the staircases are likely to be demolished, that long standing tenancies like Norm Wrightsons hairdressers (there since 1933) and Shepherds Newsagency (in the buildings for over 100 years) are unlikely to survive where they are (and no council staff bothered to visit them), that the 1916 Majestic Theatre will not be restored, and that some of the buildings to be demolished at the rear are listed as level 1b, of ‘exceptional significance’.
One only has to look across the mall at the Atwell Buildings to see the lack of ‘sensitive restoration’ there by the same developer to realise that council has again rushed through a very complex and important development application, without even referring it to its design advisory committee.
There is no conservation plan for the buildings, and because the mayor removed this area from the West End listing, no protection from the heritage council, who made just a one-line comment supporting the application.
Despite this and the fact that the community had very little warning of this development, there were 33 submissions, with only one in support.
A key issue mentioned was the 1500sqm brewery plus alfresco area, right at the entrance to the Town Hall, which council just spent $3 million on.
Bizarre and ironic, given other crazy liquor proposals supported by council for J shed, the Weighbridge in the middle of a traffic roundabout, and a beer garden for 475 people wiping out the gardens at the rear of the Warders Cottages.
This flood of new proposals for breweries, beer gardens, and bars could see Fremantle become ‘Northbridge by the Sea.’
Years ago council spent a great deal of time and money encouraging the then owners of the Manning and Atwell Buildings to reinstate their original verandahs, and paid for the design of them.
The verandahs and original shopfronts should be restored faithfully to add to the authenticity and attractiveness of these heritage buildings.
It would be a significant commercial boost for the tenants.
Architect John Kirkness who did the drawings has offered them free of charge.
I hope someone gives him a call.
John Dowson
President, The Fremantle Society

Facetime
THANKS for the excellent reminder of all the news items from 2017 (Herald Rewind, January 6, 2018).
Thoroughly enjoyed your take on them! Also liked your collage of faces on the front page.
The lady with the purple hair (six-up from bottom right) appeared 13 times.
The boy in the blue hat (five down from top right) appeared 12 times.
Fran Logan appeared nine times as did Premier McGowan—I stopped after that!
I know you’re thinking “get a life, mate”, but it gave me an hour or so amusement.
Keep up the good work.
Eric Foote,
Moorhen Drive, Yangebup
The Ed says: Thanks Eric. We were thinking about a count-the-faces competition, but after putting them all on the page our eyes stopped working and we gave up. But we think your effort should be rewarded anyway, and if you drop into the office at 41-45 Cliff Street, you’ll find a little book and CD prize pack.

Double standards
THE contrast in attitude of the City of Melville in regard to plans for a men’s shed in Bateman and the proposal for a Wave Park in Alfred Cove could not be more stark.
On Melville council’s scrapping of the plan to locate the men’s shed on Bill Ellson Reserve following a backlash from residents, embattled Melville CEO Shayne Silcox is quoted as saying “After listening to the concerns of immediate neighbours and taking these into consideration, the city is investigating options other than the proposed Bateman site…” (“Shed shelved”, Herald, December 23, 2017).
Meanwhile, the city is hunkering down like Hitler in his last hours in a Berlin bunker trying to fend off angry residents and ratepayers for failing to hear, understand or consider their genuine concerns about relocating Melville Bowling Club and building an intrusive Wave Park on the site.
Bring on the DLGC authorised inquiry ASAP
Colin Delane
Anscombe Loop, Leeming

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