What is the proposed amendment?

    The proposal would amend Schedule 7 of Local Planning Scheme No. 4, under sub-section 1.3.1 (page 75). It removes only one clause:

    Despite the general height requirements outlined in 1.1 above, building height shall be limited to a maximum height of three storeys (maximum external wall height of 11* metres as measured from ground level with a maximum roof plain pitch of 33 degrees). 

    Council may consent to an additional storey subject to— 

    (a) the upper level being sufficiently setback from the street so as to not be visible from the street(s) adjoining the subject site, (clause proposed for deletion)

    (b) maximum external wall height of 14* metres, and 

    (c) compliance with clause 1.2. above. *Inclusive of roof parapet and spacing between floors. 

    To see the proposed amendment in the scheme text, click here.

    What area of Fremantle does this proposed change apply to?

    The proposed change to setback requirements would apply to an area known as ‘Sub Area 1.3.1’ contained within Schedule 7 of the City’s Local Planning Scheme text, shown below. This section sets the general development requirements for much of the Fremantle City Centre, including the West End Heritage Area.

    The proposed change would apply to all properties in the black dashed area (sub area 1.3.1) below. The map also shows the West End Heritage Area in red where the new policy Local Planning Policy 3.21 applies.

    Would this change impact the height of buildings within the West End?

    No. This scheme amendment does not propose any change to the existing building height limits within the West End and does not alter how proposals for additions to existing buildings are assessed from a heritage conservation perspective.

    Building heights within the West End are currently capped at 11 metres (3 storeys) with an additional 3 metres (i.e. up to 14 metres/4 storeys) permitted subject to satisfying certain criteria, including addressing the heritage conservation principles provided for in the recently adopted Local Planning Policy 3.21. This policy includes requirements for new development to tie into or reflect the existing floor plates of traditional buildings, consider building proportion in a wider context and ensure that upper storeys are read as a coherent whole where these are permitted on heritage grounds.

    The proposed amendment relates specifically to how the street setback of buildings exceeding 11 metres are assessed. By removing the mandatory requirement for a street setback to these upper floors, the City can make a determination on whether a setback is appropriate based on heritage grounds, taking into account the immediate streetscape and context of a site. The West End policy, and the planning scheme, provides flexibility for instances where no setback may be a more appropriate response to the heritage context of a site.

    Applications with a reduced street setback will only be approved where this is considered appropriate on heritage grounds.

    What was the previous community feedback?

    In 2020, during consultation on Local Planning Policy 3.21, we asked for feedback on the idea of amending the planning scheme to change the setback requirement for buildings in the West End Heritage Area. Feedback on the proposal was mixed, with comments received for and against the proposal. Comments we received included: 

    • Changes to setback requirements should be done with utmost sensitivity;
    • No additional height should be allowed;
    • Taller buildings will make the area dark and not a pleasant place to be around;
    • Upper floor setbacks assist to maintain the scale of historical development within the West End;
    • Setbacks assist with conserving the historic facades of the West End within our streetscape;
    • A mandatory setback is unnecessary, each development should be considered on its merits and based on site context;
    • Upper floor setbacks are not in keeping with historic urban form;
    • Support for reduced setbacks if new buildings are not taller than established buildings.

    A full version of submissions previously received can be obtained by downloading the engagement report for Local Planning Policy 3.21. After considering the submissions received both for and against the scheme amendment, Council resolved to formally initiate the amendment, taking the view that a more flexible approach to building setbacks will allow for a better heritage outcome overall. As part of these next steps, the City is now seeking wider comment on the proposal.

    Why do I need to submit feedback again?

    The City conducts ‘preliminary’ community engagement on some potential scheme amendments, to gauge public opinion on a proposal prior to making a decision on whether to formally initiate. As mentioned, preliminary consultation was undertaken during the comment period on the West End Local Planning Policy (LPP 3.21). Taking into account feedback received, Council made a decision on-balance to formally continue with the scheme amendment proposal.

    Previous submissions won’t be included automatically, as we recognise that some views may change in light of the adoption of LPP 3.21 and further clarification on how setbacks would be managed. However, your prior comments can be included on request - please email us at planning@fremantle.wa.gov.au to arrange. 

    What is a scheme amendment?

    Every local government in Western Australia has a local planning scheme to govern the use and development of land to support current and future community needs.

    From time to time, it is necessary to make changes to the local planning scheme in order to bring it in line with strategic objectives, new state government legislation and policies, or the community’s changing needs. These changes are called scheme amendments. Scheme amendments allow the City to improve the function of the planning scheme and respond to changes in particular areas.

    Changes or updates to the planning scheme can include:

      Changes to the way land can be used, such as changing land from a business zone to a residential zone. This is called rezoning.

      Changes to the rules in the scheme that control how land can be developed, such as the height of buildings or where buildings can be located.

    What is the scheme amendment process?

    Once initiated, all amendments must be advertised for public comment. Community consultation is an essential part of the scheme amendment process and prescribed by planning regulations. If the proposed amendment is complex, we may engage more broadly than what's required by the planning regulations, which is to simply advertise for public comment. This is so we can better understand the impact of the proposed changes on the community.

    We encourage everyone who may be affected by a proposed scheme amendment to provide feedback. Diverse views strengthen the process, and improve the outcomes and the quality of Council’s decisions. 

    After the advertising period, Council will consider the public submissions and decide whether the draft amendment should be endorsed as advertised, or endorsed with modifications, or not approved. Regardless of Council's recommendation, the amendment is then forwarded to the Western Australian Planning Commission for final assessment and a decision from the Minister for Planning. If the Minister approves the amendment, the planning scheme is then amended once the amendment is published in the Government Gazette.

    The City’s friendly strategic planners are happy to help with any questions or enquiries about the amendment over the phone on 9432 9999 or by email planning@fremantle.wa.gov.au