Station locked in 

• The design of the new Fremantle Police Complex.

DESIGNS for the new Fremantle Police Station have been lodged with Fremantle council, and already concerns are being raised that they’re not quite Freo-ish enough. 

The $87 million complex was announced as a Covid-recovery project in 2020 and will take up the former Stan Reilly old folks site on South Terrace, its budget having already been ramped up so police can park their vehicles away from the arsonists who’ve occasionally struck at their temporary High Street station. 

A few locals who’ve seen the plans told the Herald while the building was streets ahead of WA’s usual box-like police stations, it didn’t seem very sympathetic to Fremantle’s character or the surrounding heritage precinct.

Councillor Adin Lang also has concerns that its long, inactive frontage will combine with Fremantle Hospital’s dated exterior to make a pretty uninviting walk into the heart of Fremantle.

“The first thing is that I want a new police station and have been banging on about it for years,” Cr Lang said.

“But this makes the redevelopment of Fremantle Oval difficult, because it should be open to South Terrace.


Cr Lang says the four storeys could be imposing next to the historic synagogue on the corner, and have a detrimental impact on the world heritage listed Fremantle Prison, as it’s within the listing’s buffer area.

He’d pushed for the station to be rebuilt in the city’s East End (an application to put one in the redeveloped Woolstores Shopping Centre was approved by the council) and says that area still remains his preference, given the high level of crime and vagrancy the area has attracted.

But Marine House is currently empty, and Cr Lang says the police could move in cheaper than building a new station, freeing up funds for other pressing issues.

But he saved his biggest criticism for the process behind the application, saying locals haven’t been given any opportunity to have input, other than a select few.

The Herald understands that stakeholders such as the Synagogue owners, council representatives and the South Fremantle Football Club were given a heads-up about the designs a few months ago, but were required to sign a declaration that they wouldn’t discuss them publicly.

The Herald asked police minister Paul Papalia’s office why the need for such secrecy, but the query was fended off to WA Police who hadn’t responded by deadline.

Cr Lang said Freo’s experience was light years from Baldivis, where residents living near a police station expected to be built at the same time as the port city’s were courted with invitations to briefings and an independent facilitator to take on their comments.

He says that’s robbed locals of the chance to argue for a broader look at a redeveloped hospital precinct that links to the oval and the CBD; he says there’s under-utilised space at the rear of the hospital which could also be a possible home for the new station.


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