Too much for a special site

MARTIN GROUNDS is an architect and North Fremantle resident. In this week’s Thinking Allowed he responds to plans to redevelop the heritage-listed Matilda Bay Brewery/Ford Factory. 

HERE are the points I would like to see the developers re consider 

• The second level over the existing Stirling Highway facade of the Ford Factory is unnecessary and disrespectful to the proportion of what should be a heritage building. The 350sqm restaurant within the additional level is additional to the 350sqm restaurant already planned at Stirling Highway level. There is altogether too much commercial space planned within the development and there can be no justification for destroying the Stirling Highway facade of the existing building to create a superfluous to requirements additional restaurant space. 

• The removal of four bays at the east end of the industrial glass facade along Coventry Parade is not justified by the fact that those bays were not part of the original Ford building …. they are relevant to the history of the building and if they can be removed why can’t the other two non- original bays being retained, also be removed? The reason for removing the four bays is to facilitate the “TowerTwo” building that is too close to Coventry Parade and conflicts with the four glass bays. 

• TowerTwo is too close to Coventry Parade, the equivalent of seven+ stories (23.8m) of building only 4.5m off the Coventry Parade boundary is overpowering to the interface with Thompson Road and the existing houses on the corner of Thompson Road and Coventry Parade, and the developer’s own overshadowing diagrams show how TowerTwo, at a total of 47m (14 storeys), has unacceptable overshadowing to the existing houses/buildings facing Coventry Parade. 

• The South East corner of the site with TowerTwo blocking any real attempt at an interface with the existing North Fremantle community, and also blocking access from the development’s internal “public courtyard” out to the proposed triangular park, where the succulent nursery is located at the moment, requires re-design! At the very least Tower Two should be terraced or reduced in height, and located further east while being pushed back much further than 4.5m from the Coventry Parade boundary. 

• The tavern and provedore commercial space at ground level along Coventry Parade frontage, as drawn on the developer’s plans, has angled car parking with no pedestrian footpath for access along the southern Coventry Parade frontage, therefore pedestrians will need to walk along the Coventry Parade road sharing it with an increased volume of traffic. Everything about the design of the Coventry Parade frontage lacks forethought and design quality and surely the developer must be instructed to re-work it. The entry into the internal courtyard from Coventry Parade where the four bays of the existing glass facade have been demolished is difficult to understand as to its size and who will benefit from access and egress at this point, given also that it will deliver people out onto Coventry Parade not onto a public walkway/footpath. (There are two access doors already in the facade of the factory building that could have been used as an interesting/ historical feature rather than knocking down four bays of the existing facade to create a doubtful design quality of entry. 

• There is an enormous amount of commercial restaurants, tavern, function room, etc (2,000sqm+) without having access and car parking resolved. There has to be a question as to whether enough car parking has been allocated given the extent of residential and commercial space all supposedly co-sharing the total of car bays 

• Tower Block One and Three provide an almost continuous wall of building along McCabe Street at the same setback and given that Tower Block One is 17+ storeys and Tower Three is 11+ storeys the effect on McCabe Street will be a reduction in the quality of environment.

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