A ground-breaking approach to infill housing in established suburbs by the City of Fremantle has been recognised with another prestigious planning award.
The ‘Freo Alternative – Big Thinking About Small Housing’ project won the Best Planning Idea – Small Project category at the Planning Institute Australia WA 2019 Awards for Planning Excellence on Friday.
The Freo Alternative was a five-year project designed to find a new way to meet the state government’s infill development targets and limit urban sprawl while also protecting the amenity that people valued in their neighbourhoods.
Changes to the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Scheme to implement the Freo Alternative were approved by the Planning Minister in February this year.
City of Fremantle Director of Planning Paul Garbett said the Freo Alternative had attracted a lot of interest since then.
“Because of the widespread concern about the impact of infill development in our suburbs, we wanted to create a shared community vision of the future of housing in Fremantle,” Mr Garbett said.
“Since February we’ve had more than 50 enquiries from landowners within the Freo Alternative areas in relation to the scheme, and we’re currently considering our first development application for four small houses on one large lot in Beaconsfield.
“We’ve also had approaches from a number of other local governments that are interested in exploring new ways to work with their community on the often contentious issue of infill development.”
The Freo Alternative project began in 2014 when the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and local architects were engaged to model different small housing types and test if they could work in a Fremantle environment.
That was followed in 2016 with a widespread community engagement program in partnership with Creating Communities to establish what attributes the community most valued about their suburb and the benefits and challenges of small housing types.
The City’s community engagement efforts were recognised with a commendation and the Planning Minister’s Award at the 2017 Planning Institute Australia WA Awards for Excellence.
The amendment to Fremantle’s Local Planning Scheme establishes six special control areas throughout the suburbs with special provisions for small infill development, as an alternative to traditional single lot subdivision.
Key provisions include:
- Only applies to lots larger than 600 square metres
- Dwellings to have a maximum floor area of 120 square metres
- Maximum of three dwellings on lots of 750 square metres or less
- Minimum of 30 square metres of outdoor living area per dwelling
- Developments to have higher than standard energy efficiency ratings, and include solar panels, rainwater tanks, grey water systems or meet best practice accessibility standards
- A minimum of 70 per cent of the entire development to be open space
- At least one large tree to be retained or planted for each dwelling
- A maximum of one parking bay per dwelling
- Developments to be referred to the City’s Design Advisory Committee to consider design quality
The Freo Alternative will initially be applied to specific locations within the City of Fremantle – in sections of White Gum Valley, Hilton, O’Connor, Beaconsfield and Fremantle – that were identified following consideration of proximity to public transport, existing lot size and housing stock and heritage streetscapes.