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?