Feb 12, 2019 - News    3 Comments

Small homes now an option with the Freo Alternative

After five years of hard work and extensive community discussion, the Freo Alternative is now officially part of Fremantle’s Planning Scheme!

This radical evolution of the existing planning system will deliver big changes for smaller housing. It addresses changing demographics and housing needs in our community, while protecting what we love about our existing neighbourhoods.

The Freo Alternative will initially be applied to specific locations within the City of Fremantle – in sections of White Gum Valley, Hilton, O’Connor, Beaconsfield and Fremantle – that meet certain criteria regarding proximity to public transport, existing lot size and housing stock and heritage streetscapes.

Key provisions include:

·         Only applies to lots larger than 600 square metres

·         Dwellings to have a maximum floor area of 120 square metres

·         Maximum of three dwellings on lots of 750 square metres or less

·         Minimum of 30 square metres of outdoor living area per dwelling

·         Developments to have higher than standard energy efficiency ratings, and include solar panels, rainwater tanks, grey water systems or meet best practice accessibility standards

·         A minimum of 70 per cent of the entire development to be open space

·         At least one large tree to be retained or planted for each dwelling

·         A maximum of one parking bay per dwelling

·         Developments to be referred to the City’s Design Advisory Committee to consider design quality

 

What others have said about the Freo Alternative:

“The Freo Alternative provisions enable land owners to be innovative and creative when it comes to infill development; they truly encourage sustainable, community oriented infill development.  I expect that projects developed under the Freo Alternative provisions will provide a stark and much needed contrast to current, typical infill development.” said Eugenie Stockmann, CEO of Co-operative Housing.

 

“I commend the Freo council for having the foresight and vision to reimagine space for small homes. I participated in the consultative process for Freo Alternatives as an older single woman on a low income who is working to explore a range of alternatives for home so people like me can age well in community. I personally don’t want a huge house and would love to live in a well designed small home with other older women in their homes on a block of land, where we could support each other, and be an active part of the community. The Freo Alternative offers that option” Liz Lennon, affordable housing advocate and Fremantle local.

How it came about:

The City of Fremantle’s ground-breaking new approach to infill housing in suburban areas, called the ‘Freo Alternative – Big Thinking about Small Housing’, is now official following approval by the Minister for Planning.

The Freo Alternative project began in 2014 when the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and local architects were engaged to model different small housing types and test if they could work in a Fremantle environment.

That was followed in 2016 with a widespread community engagement campaign to establish what attributes the community most valued about their suburb and the benefits and challenges of small housing types.

The City’s community engagement efforts were recognised with the Planning Minister’s Award at the 2017 Planning Institute Australia WA Awards for Excellence.

In March last year the Fremantle Council voted to change the City’s Local Planning Scheme and adopt a new planning policy to stimulate development of a wider choice of housing in Fremantle’s suburban areas while maintaining what people value about their neighbourhoods.

The changes were approved by the Minister for Planning, Rita Saffioti, earlier this month and will be published in the Government Gazette today.

The next step will be to monitor and evaluate the interest and use of the scheme provision to see if they deliver the social and built form outcomes that are intended. 

Find out more.

 

3 Comments

  • Hi Rachel, exciting news indeed! Could you please clarify what this provision means: Developments to have higher than standard energy efficiency ratings, and include solar panels, rainwater tanks, grey water systems or meet best practice accessibility standards

    What does ‘energy efficiency ratings’ refer to? Is that the thermal performance rating (i.e. NatHERs)?

    And is it a requirement that ALL the first four items, energy efficiency rating, solar PV, rainwater tanks + grey water systems be incorporated into the development?

    • hi Fei,

      Thanks for your question. For clarification, the final policy states the following:

      4.1 Sustainable design

      Sustainable buildings utilise passive environmental design that responds to local climate and site conditions to provide optimal orientation, shading, thermal performance and natural ventilation. Sustainable design additionally reduces reliance on heating and cooling technology and minimises energy use, resource consumption and operating costs over the life of the building. Other sustainable design measures include the use of sustainable construction materials, recycling, material re-use, energy & water efficient features, harnessing of renewable energy sources and appropriate water management.

      Ø A sustainability report is to accompany the development assessment application. The report is to outline the sustainability commitments of the development proposal and demonstrate:

      DEEMED-TO-COMPLY
      1. The development achieves a star rating of one star in excess of the current energy efficiency requirement of the National Construction Code. The star rating shall be certified by an accredited energy assessor.

      2. The development includes at least two of the following:

      § The provision of a minimum 1.5kw photovoltaic solar panel system per dwelling.

      § The provision of holding at least 1000 litres of rainwater per dwelling. The rainwater is to be connected to water use in a dwelling(s), e.g. toilet or washing machine, and/or used for irrigation on private or communal outdoor areas, preferably the deep planting zone(s) on the development site.

      § Approved grey water system for all dwellings.

      § At least one dwelling is fully accessible suitable for independent living (Platinum standard – Liveable Housing Australia).

      DESIGN PRINCIPLES
      In cases where the deemed-to-comply requirements of Part 2 cannot reasonably be met, Council may consider the achievement of an additional half (0.5) star as an alternative means of complying with this policy.

      Alternative options to those provided in Part 2 proposed as an option to meet the Part 2 requirements will be considered by Council on a case-by-case basis and against the objective of the theme.

      Alternative building methods that cannot meet the requirements above will be considered on their own merits and deemed acceptable where they demonstrate significantly higher sustainability outcomes through the submitted sustainability report.

      In relation to the first question, NatHERs approved software is the nationally recognised approach to assessing energy efficiency on building permits so compliance with this provides the simplest and most common path to demonstrating energy efficiency on residential buildings. However, there are debates about whether this is actually the best approach to achieving energy efficiency so we stop short of stating that it is the only approval pathway and leave the option open for other methods which demonstrate equivalent benefit.

      In relation to the second question, applications consistent with the deemed to comply would be approved ‘automatically’. This specifies that applications need the extra energy efficiency star and at least two of the following:

      § The provision of a minimum 1.5kw photovoltaic solar panel system per dwelling.

      § The provision of holding at least 1000 litres of rainwater per dwelling. The rainwater is to be connected to water use in a dwelling(s), e.g. toilet or washing machine, and/or used for irrigation on private or communal outdoor areas, preferably the deep planting zone(s) on the development site.

      § Approved grey water system for all dwellings.

      § At least one dwelling is fully accessible suitable for independent living (Platinum standard – Liveable Housing Australia).

      This means that applicants can mix and match which additional sustainable design initiatives they include (the more the better, obviously) but they need a minimum of two of the above. Alternatively, applications can take a different, more performance based approach to meeting the objectives by addressing the Design Principles outlined.

      I hope that clarifies the matter for you!

  • Brilliant.

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!