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: WA Apartment Advocacy

A new DAP affected group has appeared in time for this election called WA Apartment Advocacy.

This group seeks to represent great numbers of people with positive views about Perth offering different types of homes like apartments and flats.  According to Fremantle Council Mayor Pettit’s blog they are a “new group to fight NIMBYs on apartments”.

The group may not feel they are DAP Affected yet, but they are.  We have examples where the DAP, the WAPC, the MRA and the SAT have failed to offer different types of homes in new developments.

Take for example Subiaco which has a strong and vibrant history in different types of homes.  Subiaco has flats, town houses, terrace housing, weatherboard cottages and tiny houses.

Over the past four years the DAP and the MRA have approved FIVE developments in Subiaco without a skerrick of residential housing, ignoring the local town planning scheme, the council and the wishes of the community.

These new developments have ignored Subiaco’s residential infill quota and the close proximity of at least two train stations.  Instead office blocks and retail shops were approved.

The State Government has forced Subiaco to adopt an Activity Centre Structure Plan otherwise it will do one for it.  These Plans are based boundary to boundary development, no negotiations with the community, and have the potential of entombing, overlooking and overshadowing existing apartments.  Take for example this lady’s apartment in South Perth:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


DAP Affected Communities say we do hope WA Apartment Advocacy  lives up to its name and advocates for new and existing apartment owners.  Many are facing more and more pressure from boundary to boundary developments as the State Government continues it UGLIFICATION programme of Perth’s suburbs.

Uglification document Ref:

  1. Perth and Peel @ 3.5million based on 2011 numbers which are out of date and unlikely to occur until the next construction boom.
  2. State Planning Policy 4.2 Activity Centre infill targets of 35 dwellings per hectare.
  3. Directions 2031 containment of metropolitan sprawl.


DAP Affected: Gnangara

Special Rural under threat at Gnangara.

Rare wildlife, fauna, Bird life from black cockatoo’s to endangered bandicoots. Absolute disgrace.

People bought a lifestyle here with a list of conditions now the government just move the goalposts. NOT ON.

Policies and rules ignored.  Zoning mean nothing anymore.

August 2016 Gnangara residents attended a hearing by the WAPC with 30 plus people from the department including developers in attendance.  Residents were allowed only 2 speakers to speak for a total of 5 minutes to put our views across to try and save our special rural area of over 200 blocks. We have already condemned their GG Plan and DAP and this involved proposed urbanisation of good bushland and wildlife and condemn it to another concrete wasteland.

Fight on good people and thank you for letting us join in.

Chris Webb, on behalf of the Gnangara Residents Action Group.

Click here: Are Rural Residents being duped?

Residents of Pennygum Estate purchased their one hectare properties around the year 2000. They were told to plant natural corridors for fauna and the majority of them had to build expensive sand pads and eco-sewage systems because of the closeness of the water table. When residents bought into the newly approved special rural subdivision they naturally believed that this was the type of eco – planning that was going to be the norm for the area. Most properties have recently been established at considerable expense for the purpose of the residents desired lifestyle.

Click here:  Urban growth revoked by council.

Representing the Gnangara Residents Action Group, Cathy Broadbent told councillors native bird, reptile and marsupial life, including the threatened Carnaby’s Cockatoo, used the area for food foraging, shelter, nesting and reproduction.

“It’s our opinion that this land where we are in Gnangara should be retained as semi-rural with the existing guidelines remaining in place for the preservation of native flora and the resulting fauna within this area,” she said.

She said it would also help to mitigate ‘urban heat island effect’.

“Subdivision for urban expansion will only serve to exacerbate the heat from urbanisation,” she said.

#ScraptheDAP: Shire of Pingelly

More councils join forces to advocate for the abolition of the DAP with the Shire of Pingelly passing a motion of support on 17 August 2016.

Councils who have passed the motion or one with similar intent are as follows:

  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. Peppermint Grove – motion passed
  13. Victoria Park – motion passed
  14. East Fremantle – motion passed
  15. Mundaring – 2009 early adopter of a motion against the DAP
  16. Serpentine-Jarrahdale – motion passed
  17. Shire of Pingelly – motion passed 17 August 2016

It was a unanimous decision by the Pingelly Council demonstrating support and solidarity for the 48 DAP Affected Communities and the councils that have already passed the motion.

Shire of Pingelly motion 17 August 2016
Shire of Pingelly motion 17 August 2016


DAP Affected: Trigg

Whilst in theory it is uplifting to see the City of Stirling’s recent rumblings to support scrapping of DAP’s, it would be far more useful to ratepayers if they then actually practised what they preached.

The planning and approvals team at the City of Stirling have bent over backwards and actually blessed the dirt for an opt-in JDAP approval at Ozone Parade in Trigg. The 4 storey one day , 3 the next chameleon like development of 20 multiple dwellings on an R40 infill/battleaxe site is the perfect example of stealth planning on the part of the applicant (a professional applicant well known to several DAP members) and apparent collusion by the City.

The development encroaches an easement to which no consent has been given nor requested by the beneficiaries.  This encroachment will contravene both the Land Administration Act and the Building Act.

This gives the City of Stirling all the fuel it requires to block the development (as the permit authority), as did the requirement for community consultation mandated by the deemed provisions of the P&D LPS3 Regulations, the last JDAP meeting was held 10 days before the substantial commencement deadline for the original approval, allowing the mandated consultation would have essentially halted the development, so the City …

…. or Greg Bowering to be precise, misdirected the JDAP on advice in relation to opening statements made by 3 of the residents, 2 of whom clearly pointed out the requirement for community consultation in the regulations. Mandated, not recommended.
The panel clearly had no understanding of the regulations taking Mr Bowering’s advice even though he was clearly giving advice on a different sub-clause to the one we were arguing.

Only Councillor David Michael presumably understood the sub-clause of the provisions and voted against the amendment, Councillor Boothman was perhaps unaware of the City’s stance or the community anger at this development, or amendment 32 which prohibits multiple dwellings on an R40 site (unless you count Mr Bowering’s semantics).

The planning and approval team at the City of Stirling also allowed siteworks without a building permit on site for several weeks despite community feedback, presumably to help towards the substantial commencement deadline.

To aid the application of Salt, the City then changed its stated definition of substantial commencement at the 11th hour to suit this development, apparently after strongly considering community concerns.

Oh, and the easement, well the Council did get the developer to alter the plans (and then granted a building permit based on unapproved plans which they are not allowed to do for a certified application) in regard to the easement, which they did, changing one form of encroachment for another, an encroachment by retaining is in the City of Stirling’s view different to encroachment by landscaping and changing levels.

The list of omissions and obfuscations from two of the City’s Responsible Authority Report’s to the JDAP is too big to list here, my point being that even if the DAP’s are scrapped for this type of development, ratepayers will still have to deal with the partisan attitude of the local Council to certain developers.

Trigg DAP Affected Community.

DAP Affected: Ascot Waters

Ascot Waters’ residents are up against their council’s plans sell council-owned land and develop 52 Grandstand Road, Ascot using the DAP approvals process to get any outrageous development approved.

#ScraptheDAP has always been about communities, not councils.  In fact some councils relish the idea of having the to DAP to blame when elections come around.

The DAP are unelected and protected by legislation from the Minister for Planning who is powerless to overturn any DAP decision on behalf of communities.  If a council makes a wrong decision, the Minister will step in and overturn it or approve something else in its place.  The DAP are untouchable except through the Supreme Court, a very costly complaints avenue.

There are more than 15 councils who have passed a motion to “advocate for the abolition of the DAP” in support of DAP Affected Communities.

Ascot Waters brings the total number of DAP Affected Communities to 48.

Ascot Waters, Southern Gazette Community Newspapers, 9 8 16, p. 1
Ascot Waters, Southern Gazette Community Newspapers, 9 8 16, p. 1


Ascot Waters, p. 3
Ascot Waters, p. 3


DAP Affected: Swanbourne

Blackburne Property Group’s Aria Apartments, 2 Milyarm Rise, Swanbourne.

The City of Nedlands and the DAP refused this development on 23 October 2013.

Of course the developer appealed the decision at the State Administrative Tribunal and the refusal was overturned.

Read the full DAP report:

City of Nedlands was concerned about three things:

  1. The building height exceeds the height restrictions for the area and there is no discretion for this clause to be varied;
  2. It does not meet the deemed to comply provisions for design principles under clause 6.1.1 of the R Codes in relation to building size (plot ratio); and
  3. The proposed development does not represent orderly and proper planning in accordance with the Scheme.

Traffic reports submitted by the developer neglected to reference roads that will be negatively affected by the development. Glossing over impact. When it went to SAT the City focused on plot ratio and not traffic. They reviewed and downgraded initial concerns about traffic and seemed to propose acceptable compromise solutions. SAT sounds like an intimidating prospect that could drain City coffers if there are too many appeals. Pressure for compromise seems to be the preferred strategy.

When the Aria Project was brought forward to the SAT, the developer made minor adjustments by reducing the 204 units submitted to the DAP to 157 units, with only other minor changes. That is a final decision with a 300% increased plot ratio from original zoning for 55 units. And still a significant excess of originally zoned height and density in the Town Planning Scheme.

The shortfall of visitor parking will create challenges for the local community. There is only one road entrance to a building with parking for 350 vehicles and an expected 800 vehicle movements per day. Imagine the morning commute trying to exit onto busy Alfred Road off one small side street?

The nearest train is a 32 minute walk (2.3km), nearest bus a 6 minute walk taking 45 minutes to get into the city compared to 21 minutes by car.  Many criteria do not fit with the intention of infill targets but it was still approved at SAT.

Residents are frustrated about how they can lobby on these issues. Council can, but it seems they will be heavily pressured to compromise or face very high-cost appeals.

Resident of Swanbourne.

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.




SAT Affected: Councils

Another string to the bow of “development at any cost” is the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).

Developers can appeal any decision made by a council or a Development Assessment Panel to the SAT.

The results are overwhelmingly in favour of the developer:

Nearly 70% of all SAT appeals are won by the developer!
Nearly 70% of all SAT appeals are won by the developer!

This graph captures information from one metropolitan council defending its decisions.

From 2012 to 2015:

  • Spent just over $193,000;
  • On 49 appeals to the SAT relating to refusals for planning approval (a review regarding conditions of approval are not included in this number, however there are very few of these) of which:
    o  8 were refused by Council where the officer recommendation for approval, and the refusal was later overturned by SAT
    o  26 were refused by Council in line with an officer recommendation for refusal, and the refusal was later overturned by SAT;
    o  15 refusals by Council with officer recommendations also for refusal were upheld as refused by SAT.

The SAT is part of the problem why “development at any cost” is occurring throughout communities in Western Australia.

What chance have residents got if they had Third Party Appeal Rights?