13/11/2007 - 22:00

Freo split by Quay plan

13/11/2007 - 22:00


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Fremantle is a city divided over ING Real Estate’s plans to redevelop the Victoria Quay heritage precinct into an office and retailing development.

Fremantle is a city divided over ING Real Estate’s plans to redevelop the Victoria Quay heritage precinct into an office and retailing development.

A recent Fremantle council survey of 742 local residents found 49 per cent were in support of the $230 million development, while 47 per cent opposed it.

The survey raised major concerns in regard to bulk, scale, connectivity, heritage impacts, and architectural character of the proposed development, which comprises two six-storey office blocks totaling 14,000 square metres of space and 12,000sq m of retail, restaurant and café space.

Taking the survey results and a planning assessment into account last week, the Fremantle council voted against supporting the plan, despite it being effectively out of its hands, with the Western Australian Planning Commission awaiting a final decision within weeks.
A planning report to council recommended that additional retail floor space within the city not be allowed without undertaking a detailed strategic analysis, comprising a review of both the Local Planning Strategy and the development of a centre plan.

City of Fremantle Chief executive Graeme Mackenzie said there were strong concerns relating to the design of the proposed development among both supporters and opponents.

Support for the development largely centred on the positive social and economic impacts by making better use of an under-utilised space, he said.

“Their particular concerns were the look, height and how it will fit in overall with the existing character of the local area,” he said in a statement.

“Many of those surveyed also considered it ‘essential’ or ‘very important’ that the development complies with the Fremantle Waterfront Masterplan.”

Mr Mackenzie said greater support generally came from those living further away from Victoria Quay and people who visited the Fremantle CBD less frequently.

Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri said the “game was not over yet”, and council was weighing up what type of development on the waterfront it would support.

“We want to try to reach a middle ground on this. From the community feedback we’ve had there is a lot of common ground with regard to getting more retail development down there and achieving better connectivity…height is by-far the biggest issue,” he said.

Mr Tagliaferri said of least concern to the community was the retail aspect of the project, which he believed would provide Fremantle with a point of difference above competing regional shopping centres.

“It will add additional retail that is not already in the city and add to the mix. Combine that with seven-day-week trading, Friday late-night shopping and a waterfront view and you’ve got the total package,” he said.

He said he would not hazard a guess as to which way the WAPC will rule, but the project’s conditional endorsement by the Heritage Council would earn it some points.

ING has indicated it will spend about $12 million on restoration and re-use of heritage buildings at Victoria Quay including the old police station, immigration building and C-Shed.


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