29/02/2012 - 11:03

Freo council backs changes to city

29/02/2012 - 11:03

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Freo council backs changes to city

The revitalisation of Fremantle’s city centre is one step closer to becoming a reality after the council backed a change to its planning scheme.

The Fremantle council has voted to give in-principle approval to amendments to the local planning scheme proposed by the city centre strategic sites working group.

The biggest change would be to allow an increase in the height restriction placed on buildings in the inner city.

If passed in full, the amendments would mean two sites could increase in height to up to 10 storeys.

But the council has been careful to moderate its initial support for the changes with a promise to develop additional guidance around the height increases on some key sites – a topic that has generated controversy and debate during the eight-week consultation process.

The council said height increases would not be approved until it had developed further guidance, which would be put to the public before it was approved.

The increase of maximum discretionary heights would mean the council was more likely to achieve targets of having an additional 20,000 square metres of retail space, 70,000sqm of A-grade office space and 1,500 additional dwellings – targets which were set out in the council’s economic development strategy for 2011-15.

The targets were proposed as a way of positioning Fremantle as a primary metropolitan centre in Perth.

However, a review of the planning scheme found that the restrictions placed on city centre development would only allow for about 67 per cent of the targeted floor space to be met. This prompted the council to alter the planning scheme.

The council is expected to adopt the full amendments at its next meeting later this month.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the vote was a positive step for the revitalisation of the city centre.

“Council is confident that these amendments will provide the scope for sustainable development that has previously not been possible under the current planning scheme,” Dr Pettitt said in a statement.

“After what equates to years of extensive research and months of community consultation, council is very pleased with the final planning scheme amendment principles.”

He said the progress on altering the scheme meant the council was now looking towards developing Kings Square, with community consultation on that project expected to begin in April.

The project includes redeveloping key sites around Kings Square such as the library, council offices and Fremantle’s visitor centre.

 

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