Fremantle Chamber of Commerce

State Government Department of Planning- Planning Reform Community Feedback Opportunity

Position Paper

August 2021

Context:

The Western Australian State Government has requested community and industry stakeholder input, as the next phase of planning reforms begins.

The following submission represents the collective views of the authorised representatives of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce (FCC) Development and Infrastructure (D&I) Committee regarding that next phase. The Committee works together collaboratively on Chamber positions and while individual member positions are voiced, the group agrees and moves forward on a group agreed collective view position. What is contained within this Position Paper- is that agreed collective view.

The D&I Committee is an industry collective body representing the group agreed collective Committee position of The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce and comprises of commercial and economic development leaders from the following Fremantle businesses: Notre Dame, Slavin Architects, Urban Design Lab, Fremantle Ports, Stageworks, FPS Commercial Property, Acton Property Fremantle, KPMG and Yolk Property Group. The Committee reports directly to the FCC Board.

The D&I Committee is committed to the maintenance of the commercial, heritage and social fabric of Fremantle, and the strategic development of Fremantle in a manner that promotes the unique qualities of the Greater Fremantle region. The Committee considers the heritage character, vibrant cultural and community foundation upon which the city is built, and recognised globally for, provides considerable potential for the revitalisation and facilitation towards the growth of Fremantle into the future.

Chamber’s Position:

The Chamber recognises that the Planning Reform work undertaken to date, provides a framework and system that allows for consistency across the state and through community consultation, feedback will contribute to determining how planning reforms can be better adapted for regional communities and allows for transparent dialogue on future community development.

The Chamber also recognises the benefit of Metronet to the local community in providing long-term strategy to Perth’s future planning needs and for enabling new growth opportunities. However, it is vital Fremantle’s major infrastructure projects include genuine consideration for appropriate transport infrastructure links along the Southern Corridor that is currently experiencing medium to high density residential growth (South Beach, Shoreline, North Coogee). These areas when fully developed will accommodate a population of several thousand residents. Further south along this corridor, is the enormous potential of the Australian Marine Complex (hereafter AMC), Kwinana Industries Council and Garden Island industrial precincts.

In assessing the planning reform, the Chamber believes that allowances need to be made for the unique heritage and urban fabric of the City of Fremantle and surrounds. It believes that any planning and infrastructure approaches, consider the cultural identity, context and recognises these values.

Social, cultural and economic considerations are noticeably missing from the potential reform and these elements are critical elements that contribute to the uniqueness of Fremantle.

To summarise, the following feedback points we believe would add value:

Definitions of Urban vs Regional Centres

  • It is important that allowance is made under the Planning Reform for Fremantle’s plans and developments to be assessed as an urban development, as it is not regional or suburban in context. Additionally, consideration needs to be given to the significant built form heritage, as well as the unique cultural and social fabric of Fremantle.

Connectivity

  • The Chamber would like to see a greater focus on connectivity that meets the daily needs of people living, working and visiting our urban centre. This includes consideration of the current local industry and economic drivers that are integral to the planning framework of Fremantle and surrounds.
  • A planning framework that unlocks opportunities to connect urban centers to our water and foreshores. Including connecting the maritime harbours such as the AMC at Henderson, Fishing Boat Harbour, the inner Harbour and north quay to the employment centers that serve them.
  • It is essential that long-term, on-going transport access and care, along with maintenance of infrastructure, is built into the planning framework.
  • We would like to see improvement to the Southern Transport Corridor (South Beach, Shoreline, North Coogee etc.) that connects these communities back to Fremantle and meets the future needs of those living, working and visiting the area.

Heritage

  • There are only a few places that remain in our modern city where heritage and historic streetscapes have created depth, aesthetically driven structures and a celebration of historic trades and craft. These need to be assessed differently and with the involvement of the relevant stakeholders to ensure they remain a celebration of our past, and also add to the aesthetic values of our community.

Definition of Retail and Mixed-Use Development

  • To acknowledge that traditional bricks and mortar retail has changed, and likely to continue into the foreseeable future, the planning framework needs to allow for flexibility and a diversity of uses that isn’t completely reliant on the existing definition of retail, for example, retail could be home shops, studios, workshops or other commercial activities that invite pedestrian movement.
  • To enable complex and forgotten spaces to be revitalised, the planning framework needs to integrate processes that accommodate flexibility in approvals, a more simplified approval process or accommodate these spaces into a wider integrated planning and infrastructure project.

Streetscapes, Pedestrians and Gathering Spaces

  • Traditionally, planning processes and approvals have focused on the built form, rather than our streetscapes, movement of pedestrians and gathering spaces that are the foundations of how communities are developed. Some recognition of these elements is recommended within the planning reform to create our communities of the future.

Place-making and Spaces

  • Consider spaces and place-making that build on existing community drivers and develop suitable spaces for the future, rather than attempting to artificially create places.

Greening and Climate Change

  • The planning review should include, reward and consider the extensive use of green spaces including roof terraces and other landscaping solutions that feed into climate change reform and community engagement within our public and private realms.
  • Green space in our cities should be treated as “the lungs of our cities”. Places where we can take a breath and have time to recharge. It is our opportunity to be recognised at a global scale on our genuine commitment to be world leaders in city “greening”.

Panel Appointments

  • The Chamber supports an independent assessment panel with a state-wide perspective to assist in the assessment of significant developments that have the potential to affect the fabric of our City, economic development of the region and the design aesthetic of the places we will live and work into the future.
  • In your appointment of permanent panel members, we request the selection criteria include a cross-selection of the leading architecture, design and planning representatives that are based or actively work in heritage, urban centre design, landscape/environmental management and have experience in Fremantle. Fremantle has a significant pool of over 250 registered architects, designers and planning experts with a personal and professional understanding of Fremantle’s unique historic and urban drivers and we believe their contribution is key in providing an advocacy voice on the on local infrastructure and planning reform.

Conclusions:

With a rich cultural heritage and important industry, the Port City of Fremantle is a well-regarded and iconic destination for both locals and visitors. Fremantle doesn’t neatly fit the model of suburban development associated with much of Perth and therefore, more flexibility needs to be integrated into the planning framework to allow for appropriate mixed-use development, density, integral green spaces, quality developments with active street fronts.

It is vital Fremantle’s major infrastructure projects include genuine consideration for appropriate transport infrastructure links along the Southern Corridor, as well as considering the enormous potential of the AMC, Kwinana Industries and Garden Island industrial precincts are included in major infrastructure planning.

Given Fremantle’s uniqueness, urban development and the planning of key connectivity projects need to be sympathetic to this and also to the people that live, work and visit the area.