Heritage Affected: Atwell Arcade Fremantle

The new Atwell Arcade development in the High Street mall represents a missed opportunity, and is another sub standard development in the tsunami of unacceptable developments hitting Fremantle’s valuable heritage heart.

State Heritage listed Atwell Arcade.  Formally home to Pellew's drapery
State Heritage listed Atwell Arcade – place number 00929. Formally home to Pellew’s drapery.

 It was rammed through council in 2014 with the mayor calling a special council meeting  just for this developer and his development. All councillors voted for it, except the most pro development of all councillors Bill Massie, because he said it would damage the heritage of the area. Boy, was he right!

-Below is the timber mullioned shop front for City Beach (part of the Atwell Arcade development)  Fremantle Society helped council officers design when council put a stop work order on the then owners back in 2010 because of the illegal demolition works they were carrying out. They agreed to build this timber framed shop front, and just recently it was ripped out by the new owner and replaced with a totally modern full glass shop front with aluminium doors, inappropriate to the heritage of the property and contrary to council’s own policy DGF15 for this shopfront. Did they get permission? This is just one thing wrong with the Atwell Arcade development.

-Did you know that apparently one of the new tenants objected to the design passed by council and that the developer altered it without council permission?

-Have you seen how Fremantle’s best arcade has been reduced to a modern pastiche? 

-Look at the terrible disconnect with the modern brutal Boost Juice shopfront (photo below) compared to the well restored historical upper floor (next to City Beach), which, when The Fremantle Society posted it online, drew more hits  and condemnation than any post this year.

-Look at the way the central glass box (photo below) of offices dominates the skyline from all angles and blights the gold rush architecture it sits amongst.

-You will remember the damage caused during construction when the developer stuck a crane right through a heritage floor. His penalty? A $500 fine.

The Fremantle Society commissioned one of the architects who was on council’s own Design Advisory Committee (DAC) and his report we are making available to you below (attached). He is prepared to put his name to it, rare these days with architects keen to keep out of public debate. The points he makes are important and need follow up. A review of the DAC and compliance issues is urgently needed. The photo below of the column detail refers to the comment the architect makes about the loss of original historical detail.

There has been a serious failure by council heritage staff to ensure a good heritage outcome, a serious failure by council officers to ensure compliance with what was approved, and the all too familiar lack of care from mayor and councillors.

Source: Fremantle Society.

State Heritage List: Atwell Buildings

#ScraptheDAP says:

Section 11 of the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 stipulates that the decision maker (Fremantle Council) must satisfy itself that it has taken “all measures which can reasonably be taken to minimize any adverse effect” on the existing heritage and conservation intent of the area.

In order to satisfy all measures which can be reasonably taken, Section 11 also requires that the decision maker (Fremantle Council) should have received a notice any new development is referred to the Heritage Council and that the Council shall thereupon advise both the Minister and the authority making the referral that Section 47 and other relevant sections of the Act have been complied with by the Council.

Question: Does Fremantle Council have such assurances from the Heritage Council?


DAP Affected: Fremantle supports #ScraptheDAP

Fremantle Society and Fremantle Ratepayers Association are very concerned about the loss of Fremantle’s heritage significance as a tourist destination.  Members attended a meeting were Mayor Ron Norris and Cr Julie Matheson presented some case studies of DAP Affected Communities and how the State Government’s plans for infill at any cost has affected them through the DAP approvals system.

Here’s what one Fremantle resident said:

I enjoyed your scrap the DAP presentation for the Fremantle Society dinner at the Maja Restaurant. I felt heartened that there are people like you with tremendous commitment and enthusiasm to improve the quality of planning decisions.

I have enclosed my DAP experience at 284 South Terrace Fremantle, not because I’d expect you to read it, but there may be a file somewhere out there that collects all these cases. This is a major non-compliant development that is also incompatible with density and heritage of the local South Fremantle area

In this case, besides the fact of no third-party appeal, DAP was not the worst aspect of the experience. The most devastating and disappointing part was the total lack of ratepayer representation by the two panel members representing City of Fremantle at the DAP meeting. Both these councillors spoke for and on behalf of the developer and the development promoting the State Government’s flawed ideology of infill at any cost.

Therefore, I hold very little hope that the CoF will join the other councils and adopt the Scrap the DAP motion, because DAP provides CoF with a convenient tool to justify all their inappropriate development that the community does no want.





Good to hear the City of Fremantle is finally taking steps to join other councils to get rid off the controversial state development assessment panels. I have been asking Fremantle Council for months to join the protest of councils such as Vincent, Stirling, Subiaco, Mosman Park, South Perth and many others against the DAP. DAP […]


DAP Affected: South Fremantle

284 South Terrace, SOUTH FREMANTLE

It is acknowledged that there will be development at 284 South Tce, but not at all costs and at the expense of our amenity.

The concern is about appropriate levels of quality development within the context of the South Fremantle heritage area, the Local Area Policy (D.G.S2) and existing issues and problems.

“The objective of this policy is to protect the amenity of the Local Area while reinforcing its role within the City and allowing compatible development.”

Also, I urge you to read objectives of the Access and Location of Infill Development in Residential Areas (PD 2.2.7) before listening to any councillor or developer.

As residents of the local community we object to the current proposal.

Residents have been forced to attend JDAP, because we do not have confidence that our views as stakeholders will be represented by our elected member, Councillor Sullivan who has clearly demonstrated at the planning meeting (2 March 2016) that he supports the developer without reservation or consideration for residents’ concerns. In fact, he publicly ridiculed our concerns about parking which is the most serious of community concern.

Local residents concerns (affect on amenity)

  • Misrepresentation/non disclosure: the nature of tenancy matters. It was advertised as 6 commercial tenancies, no restaurant was specified.  It was not until the council planning meeting (2 March 2016) that the community found out.

The impact of a restaurant in a densely populated area with limited parking in narrow streets is significantly different to an accountancy practice, eg; it is not disclosing the traffic and parking impact that this will have on the wider community.

The potential impact on the wider community warrants notification to all people concerned not only to people within 100 m of the development.

  • Local Area Policy: this development contradicts the Local Area Policy: it is the antithesis of the intent of the objectives
  • Most importantly, it sets an inflexible precedent for future development.

This policy was developed specifically to cater for the identity of South Fremantle: narrow streets, often one side only parking, high density, no off street parking for residents, and heritage buildings.

The policy, therefore, becomes critical for any development proposal.


  • The Council’s notification to people within 100 m of the development but explicitly states the potential impact on the whole community

“… Specifically, the application proposes the following variation to the local planning scheme, relevant panning policies and /or deemed to comply requirements of the Residential Design Codes:

  • Boundary Walls (south, east)
  • Street setbacks (primary and secondary)
  • Open space
  • On site car parking
  • Other – discretionary land uses, dwelling size”

Given the significant impact identified clearly by the council, there has been no community consultation and insufficient engagement.

  • Rather than the subjective assumption by a planning officer and the developer, a formal traffic impact assessment would adequately inform on traffic congestion, danger, flow and access to South Terrace and Charles St. for
  • a restaurant, 4 commercial tenancies plus 20 apartments:
  • vehicle entry for the above opposite the hotel car park into a narrow street that already carries all the traffic for the hotel.
  • The report fails to address how the 3 storey development’s scale and bulk  is  sympathetic to the existing character of the street scape of Charles St where buildings present as single storey houses with front setbacks (not to boundary); or how this development is in tune with the narrative of the local heritage neighbourhood when it rivals and dominates the hotel which has been the important and most imposing structure in the street.

DAP approved on 11 March 2016.  Click here:

Councils vote to Abolish the DAP

DAP affected communities are supporting their local councils to move an in principle motion to ABOLISH THE DAP.

Mayor John Carey and Cr Julie Matheson spoke to ABC News about the current DAP system.

So far the following Councils are proposing motions similar to Mayor Carey’s of the City of Vincent:

  1. Vincent – motion passed
  2. Mosman Park – motion passed
  3. Nedlands – motion passed
  4. Cambridge – motion passed
  5. Subiaco – motion passed
  6. Stirling – motion passed
  7. Bayswater – motion passed
  8. South Perth – motion passed
  9. Belmont – motion passed
  10. Cottesloe – motion passed
  11. Claremont – motion passed
  12. Swan – working on it
  13. Peppermint Grove – motion passed
  14. Gosnells – working on it
  15. Kalamunda – working on it
  16. Melville – motion passed
  17. Cockburn – working on it
  18. Kwinana – working on it
  19. Victoria Park – motion passed
  20. Fremantle – working on it
  21. East Fremantle – motion passed
  22. Mundaring – 2009 early adopter of a motion against the DAP
  23. Serpentine-Jarrahdale – motion passed
  24. Shire of Pingelly – motion passed 17 August 2016

If you are a DAP affected community, now is a great opportunity to speak to your elected council members and request your council’s support and vote for the abolition of the current DAP process.

And if you think a change of government will abolish the DAP, think again.  Labor under the leadership of Mark McGowan has just supported City of Perth Bill in collaboration with the current government.

DAP has bi-partisan support.  It’s up to our councils to make a stand on the DAP.