A PROPOSED redevelopment of the old Matilda Bay Brewery/Ford factory into a high-rise precinct has been knocked back by the state’s development assessment panel.
The decision on Thursday afternoon came as something of a relief to residents, but not necessarily a surprise, as they say the developer hadn’t done nothing to allay their concerns despite tinkering with the plans.
In November 2022, the Metro Inner-South Joint Development Assessment Panel deferred 3 Oceans Property’s initial proposal for three apartment towers and a mixed-use development on the prime Stirling Highway site.
The proposal was deferred for several reasons, including a requirement for more information on affordable housing and housing diversity, an updated traffic assessment
(requested from Main Road WA), and an address of the parking shortfall assigned for its commercial and retail section.
But when the amended proposal was resubmitted, one of the towers was taller, despite height being one of the main concerns from the local community association. Some parking bays were added while non-residential areas were decreased. Overall, the size of the built-up area increased from 34,118sqm to 36,147sqm.
The 112 submitters who commented on the previous plans were given another opportunity, but out of 46, only one was impressed.
“Not much has changed,” said one respondent, adding that most of their initial concerns hadn’t been addressed.
“I am not opposed to development, which is an argument that has been fired back from this developer to describe opponents to their development proposal, but I strongly believe that the council planning policies 3.11 are there for a reason and are to be respected,” wrote another.
The single submission in support said the development would be a fantastic addition to North Freo, and a higher density would be a “great boon” given the current lack of shops within walking distance of the site. That made it a “borderline necessity”.
North Fremantle Community Association member Ann Forma said if there had been respect for the site’s heritage from the starting point, the community could have accepted the ground rules. However, the heritage and the community character had been ignored.
The WA government has encouraged councils to increase density to accommodate Perth’s growing population and avoid sprawl in the city’s outskirts, but Ms Forma says the Matilda Bay proposal goes well beyond what councils should be trying to achieve.
“We don’t question the need for density, but we do question the way it’s done.” Ms Forma said.
NFCA chair Gerry MacGill said in future companies should view and research a site’s social and environmental capabilities and conduct workshops to “get a feeling” of what the community would like to see before submitting their development applications.
Describing it as “such a complex development with far-reaching consequences,” Mr MacGill says that it goes beyond discovering what the locals have to say but also the impacts on the environment and overall landscape.
The Herald reached out to 3 Oceans property but had yet to hear back before the deadline.
by JESSICA MASSAGA