Council moves to protect Royal George Hotel from high-rise development

Local residents protesting at the site of the Royal George Hotel in October 2018.
Local residents protesting at the site of the Royal George Hotel in October 2018.

EAST Fremantle council and residents have re-affirmed their opposition to a high-rise redevelopment at the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel site.

In front of a packed public gallery, council last night voted to approve a complex amendment at a special council meeting in the hope of restricting plans for a large-scale development next to the run down pub.

Developers Saracen Properties purchased the land in June 2017 and had floated a 21-storey tower as part of their redevelopment plans, although had not submitted a development application.

The Town had previously placed a six-storey cap on any potential development, but planning minister Rita Saffioti’s modifications to their scheme amendment last November instead limited the height to no more than seven stories.

East Fremantle objected to her changes regarding building height, plot ratio, residential development, parking and heritage conservation.

In particular, they were unhappy with a clause specifying the development height could be changed by a decision maker such as the WA Planning Commission (WAPC), which could pave the way for the seven-storey limit to be exceeded by Saracen Properties.

The Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle.

At the special council meeting, council passed amendments to the site’s local planning scheme in an attempt to tighten development restrictions and ease residents concerns.

They approved a height control which would cap the height at seven storeys and also shored up parking requirements to prevent congestion.

More: Restoration of East Fremantle’s Royal George Hotel on the table 

Council also added a clause stating they would not support any redevelopment until Saracen fulfilled their end of an agreement to restore the Royal George Hotel prior to commencing other development on the site.

Of the 233 submissions the Town received during the scheme advertising stage, 216 rejected the planning minister’s modifications and residents protested the idea of the 21-storey development at the hotel last October.

An artist’s impression of what a six-storey development at the Royal George site would look like. Photo: The Town of East Fremantle.

The special council meeting represented the last chance for council to discuss the site, with their submission set to be sent to the WAPC by Friday.

The WAPC will form an assessment and make recommendations to the Department of Planning and Ms Saffioti, who will decide the fate of the site.

Saracen Properties have been contacted for comment.

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