Will Fremantle’s West End be threatened by property owners wishing to demolish buildings before they become protected by legislation?
Robert Bodkin, of Bodkins Bootery fame, has alerted the Fremantle Society to the demolition application for a building within the West End precinct. The building, 75 High Street, is the office supply shop opposite Bodkin’s iconic establishment.
Bodkin is a committee member of the Fremantle Society which is rapidly recovering from five years of inadequate management, quickly regaining its position as an active supporter of conservation and high quality development.
He points out that a demolition application has been put before council but no plans have been submitted for a building to replace it. This is a situation which could result in a long term Mexican Standoff similar to that hovering over the King’s Square redevelopment which has been languishing for six years.
Apparently the owners claim the building is beyond restoration, that it has no notable features and they also note the verandah is missing.
It is likely that this application will be a test for both the council and the Fremantle Society but until plans for a replacement are submitted, and should demolition be approved, it becomes difficult to make a valued judgment.
There has been a trend to add height within existing precincts, not to mention some appalling architecture. A clear example is redevelopment of Attwell Arcade.