Oct 8, 2018 - News    1 Comment

Can big homes become better communities?

This home could potentially become three or four independent dwellings with some clever renovations under The Freo Alternative scheme amendment.

By moving a few walls, the spacious (200m2) family home could become two 2 bed apartments, or perhaps 3 smaller apartments. Each with its own outdoor area thanks to the large 842m2 block. The powered brick shed could be converted into another apartment, also with its own garden / courtyard. 

I got rather carried away about the idea, as I’m thinking about looking after my ageing parents, but I don’t want to have to share a kitchen and living room with them!

This particular property, on Minilya Street in White Gum Valley, is within the Freo Alternative trial area and is just a block away from South Street; a transit priority route with plans for light rail or a trackless tram in the future. With a cafe and local shop as well as the Hilton Town Centre just a short walk away, this home offers a great sustainable and social lifestyle.

While the cost of such renovations (especially to meet the building code requirements for separate dwellings) and strata titling the properties would not be cheap, it could be an affordable option undertaken over a period of time for the right people.

I only wish I could do it with my folks!

Plenty of room for the Deep Root Vegetation, and outdoor living required

There are many homes in and around our suburbs that are perfect for this kind of adaptation. This method of urban intensification, and increasing density will support the viability of public transport improvements, and the vibrancy of our neighbourhood centres and CBD, with a negligible impact on the streetscape or urban form.

I now look at large family homes for sale and think of how they could be divided internally into a number of smaller dwellings.

The Freo Alternative was approved by Council in March and is currently with the WAPC for Ministerial approval. It is hoped that the determination might take place before Christmas, or early in the new year.

While the amendment will only apply to a small number of areas around Fremantle, I think there will be plenty of opportunities for this kind of inter-generational independent living, or for groups of friends/buyers who want affordable and more social living options. There are specialists like The Henry Project who have the expertise to help navigate the practical and legal aspects of undertaking such a project.

Once again, Fremantle is leading the way in innovation that aims to provide more affordable and sustainable housing solutions. I look forward to seeing how The Freo Alternative is implemented in reality, and hope (encourage!) people to consider this kind of efficient re-use of existing housing stock.

1 Comment

  • A good find Rachel! The point you make about density is a great one, and applicable to so many of our suburbs where there is pressure to accommodate population growth whilst retaining prevailing neighbourhood character. If we can bring our thinking around to a definition of densification that involves increasing the number of households in existing properties (as opposed to building more dwellings), we could find a simple, pragmatic and useful solution.

    Thanks for the mention of The Henry Project! At The Henry Project there has been a lot of thinking and research invested in developing a model and process for people to share housing in this way, with care and consideration for the privacy and needs of multiple parties. I welcome anyone to get in touch and avail themselves of this expertise to make projects like this possible, I would love to assist.