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Submission on Proposed Fremantle Police Complex

19 July 2023

Here is my submission on the Proposed Fremantle Police Complex. Hopefully you will do one too. Due Friday July 21.

The proposed development in its current form is not supportable.

There are five main issues:
1. Too much of the bulk of the building is sitting too close to the heritage-listed Synagogue.
2. The loss of large parts of the convict-built heritage wall is not acceptable
3. The poor activation and passive surveillance of South Tce
4. Traffic issues including emergency vehicles exiting onto a busy road that is heavily used by cyclists and pedestrians and the proposed turn right lane impacting cycling infrastructure.
5. Sustainable design underwhelming 4 star

A brief explanation of each of the above issues is provided below:

Building bulk is too close to the heritage-listed Synagogue
The impact on the Synagogue is not moderate as stated but instead is significant. Too much of the bulk of the building is sitting too close to the heritage-listed Synagogue. This height and bulk needs to be pushed south so the building is staggered towards the hospital site. Additionally, the imposing and non-functional architecture on the south side should be removed.
If the development focused more of its bulk and height to the southern end of the development and lowered its height and bulk on the northern end it would be more acceptable.

Heritage Walls
This proposed development is in the World Heritage buffer zone of the Fremantle Prison. This is the only built world heritage in Western Australia and what occurs in its buffer zone should be considered and sympathetic.
Its world heritage status is due to it being part of a wider convict establishment. However, convict-built walls will be demolished to create entrance and egress for police vehicles at the southern end of the site and to create the piazza at the northern end. This is unacceptable. Better collaboration with the Fremantle Hospital should have enabled use of their access road to avoid unnecessary duplication and heritage damage.

Activation of South Tce
Fremantle needs South Tce to be better activated from the markets to Wray Ave. The purpose and design of this building – a high-security building with one modest public entrance and otherwise walled-off – inhibits and prevents any activation.

Traffic issues
Emergency vehicles will be exiting onto a busy road that is heavily used by cyclists and pedestrians. This is not a good or safe outcome.
Furthermore, the proposed right turn lane that is illustrated on page 309 of supplementary documents will have a negative impact on pedestrian and cycling safety. If this were to go ahead there is a chance that existing cycling lanes would need to be narrowed, rather than widened into fully protected lanes as needs to happen.

Sustainable design underwhelming 4 star
The development project documentation has demonstrated credits of only 21% of available Green Star credits and has therefore only met the requirement for a 4star rating which is underwhelming and not the kind of leadership we would expect from a government building. I acknowledge that there are a further 14% expected to be documented by the design team and 4% which require further design progression or contractor appointment to confirm.
I would hope that Green Star credits of at least 50%, with a solid 5star rating, would be a minimum requirement of any development approval.

Fundamentally this proposed development is the wrong location and is undermining an integrated development of Fremantle Oval that better connects with and activated South Tce.
It would be better located in another part of Fremantle without all of the constraints and issues listed above.


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