Heritage listing area falls short

The State Heritage Office recently announced it would be considering the City of Fremantle’s proposal to add the West End to the State Register of Heritage Places, a move that could see it become the register’s largest addition ever.

Despite this, Fremantle Society president John Dowson said only half of the relevant area was being considered and recommendations from The West End Working Group were being ignored.

“The proposed listing of just the area west of Market Street to Little High Street by the State Heritage Office as a ‘place’ shows a failure of Fremantle Council to follow the advice of its open committee and $35,000 expert report,” he said.

“The West End Committee… recommended that the area to be listed be the whole of the West End Conservation Area which includes Kings Square, while omitting the already World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison but adding the railway station.

“Council have chopped the area in half and put at risk the future of what is Fremantle’s greatest economic assets-its heritage.”

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the statement was wrong, with the working group supporting the area that was currently proposed.

Council unanimously carried a recommendation in its September 2013 meeting which read:

“The Working Group’s recommendation is that the area to be nominated is the area bounded by Little High Street to the west; Phillimore Street to the north (including the buildings on the north side of Phillimore Street); Market Street to the east and Collie Street and Marine Terrace to the south.”

“Despite some recent media comments suggesting council went against the working group recommendation, I can confirm that council accepted the final recommendations of the working group’s report and did not alter the boundaries as proposed by them,” Dr Pettitt said.

“There’s no argument that other areas in Fremantle, like the prison and Kings Square precinct have significant heritage value but the key point to note is that these areas are distinctly different from the West End with their own stories to tell.”