One of the most frequent questions I am being asked while door knocking is what my position is on the development and height issue in Fremantle.
There is often a tension between new development, height and heritage in Fremantle – and there are no simple answers. My position is:
- No high rise
- The unique character and heritage of Fremantle should be maintained and protected
- Some quality medium density should be built in the underutilized parts of town (eg: the ‘East End’, CBD ‘Strategic Sites’ and the Knutsford Street Precinct)
- Developers should not be given additional height – they should earn it
- We should demand high quality developments with quality design features or sympathetic aesthetics plus good social and environmental outcomes
- Densified areas should include generous quality public open space and green space
- New developments should have good visual and acoustic privacy features for occupants and neighbours
- Existing amenity should be respected
I think we should raise the bar on architecture in Fremantle – no more tilt up concrete allowed (for example) if I can help it!
I hope to encourage ‘landmark’ building design in appropriate locations; creating striking buildings that will be local assets and icons, and hopefully considered heritage worthy of protection one day.
I also think that if Johnston Court no longer dominated the skyline – if newer, better designed and constructed buildings stood alongside it – it has the potential to actually improve our city skyline (only if done well).
I saw some excellent examples of interesting, medium to high density developments in Portland Oregon, where quality materials were combined with interesting architecture and good proportion of public open and green space. The result was a really liveable neighborhood – something I thought would be ideal in Fremantle, particularly in the eastern end of the city.
My test would be – would I want to live there? Would I want to look at it every day?
The other balance that will need to be struck is the one between the financial viability of a development and the community’s expectations and aspirations.
It may not be an easy task, but I am keen to work towards innovative solutions for the long term benefit of the wider community and the good of the city I love.
Here are some photos of examples of medium density I liked in Portland, Oregon. I hope this provides some clarity.