An allegedly unauthorised timber deck erected recently at Fremantle‘s historic Kidogo arthouse may have damaged archaeological heritage and should be torn down, say state government planners.
In a report to be debated by a state committee next week, the WA Planning Commission planners say the pictured deck significantly differs from an extension to Kidogo approved in July last year.
Kidogo received approval for an $80,000 extension on the northern side of its state heritage listed limestone building. The approved extension had a total area of about 13.6m x 3.8m, and comprised a timber-clad toilet block and a 6.3m x 3m timber deck.
Instead, a $75,000 13.6m x 5.12 deck was erected on the northern side of the building, which the planners say is significantly larger than the deck that was approved.
The planned toilet block, which has long been a bone of contention at Kidogo, has not been built.
In a submission on the deck, the Heritage Council of WA has expressed concern that the deck has been built over an area of archaeological significance, its scale “virtually dominates” the “highly significant” limestone building, and its “plan, elevation, detail and material” is “inappropriate to the early colonial setting” of the Kidogo building.
The WAPC planners further allege the deck has been built contrary to the granted approval, and say it has potential to impede the path of pedestrians to and from the end of a public boardwalk that abuts the deck.
They conclude that the deck detrimentally affects the cultural heritage significance of the building and place, which overlooks historic Bathers Beach.
The planners allege that no archaeological monitoring was carried out while the deck was being built, and say that nobody knows whether the structure caused any disturbance.
On March 22, the state committee will debate a recommendation by the planners that an application by Kidogo for retrospective approval of the deck be refused.