July 13 2018

Jessica Saunders Development Project Officer Wollongong City Council
41 Burelli Street Wollongong

Dear Jessica,

DA–2017/1316 IN RESPECT OF 178-180 LAWRENCE HARGRAVE DRIVE, THIRROUL

Introduction

Please accept this document as a submission prepared by members of the Thirroul Village Committee (TVC) objecting to DA–2017/1316 for 178/180 Lawrence Hargrave Drive Thirroul.

The key issues are what appear to be errors in the DA and inadequate consideration given to the developments impact on local flooding, shading, privacy, amenity, height and storey limitations and character as required by Development Control Plan and the Local Environment Plan (LEP) that apply to the area. Additionally the development does not appear to comply with Illawarra regional environment plan no. 1and The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (s 79c). Additionally, the justification used for exemptions to local planning requirements do not appear to be exceptonal and are clearly opposed by affected residents.

The Site

The proposed structure will be located on the Thirroul side of the prominent hill separating Austinmer and Thirroul. The hill is referred to as Kennedy’s Hill. The building site is approximately 200 metres from the low water mark, and, as such, can be considered coastal land.

The site is on Lawrence Hargrave Drive and is located at the raised end of a long straight section of Lawrence Hargrave Drive. The result of the development will be a large building located in a prominent position.

The building will be visible from many distant vantage points. Indeed, it will be visible from Bulli Lookout, Bulli Hill, Bulli Pass, Sandon Point, Thirroul Public School, Thirroul and McCauleys beaches and adjoining public reserves and from a significant part of the escarpment foothills of Thirroul and Austinmer. TVC believe this location is a prominent coastal site.

Surrounding residences

The majority of houses in the area are 2/4 bedroom cottages with front and backyard gardens. The average height of buildings in the visual catchment is estimated to be 1.5 storeys. Diagonally across the road there is a block of flats on two levels with separate garage

parking underneath at ground level. There is also one other large flat development in Thirroul. This is located about 1⁄2 a kilometre away on the coastal plain. It is three levels of flats above separate ground floor garages. While these the last two mentioned buildings are similar medium density developments, they are both over thirty years old and were built before modern planning controls were introduced. The TVC does not believe that past planning mistakes can be used to justify future planning decisions. The TVC consider both these last mentioned buildings to be incompatible with the existing streetscape and that these would not be approved under present day planning regulations

Specific issues with the DA

The DA and accompanying variation documents attempts to present specific reasons to justify the variations sought. The TVC wishes to point out the following errors and faults with these.

Building Height Limit

The DA describes the area as a Medium Density Residential. This is in fact incorrect. The area is zoned R2 Low Density Residential. Clause 4.3 of the Wollongong LEP 2009 makes provision for limiting the height of buildings. The Height of Buildings Map that supports the LEP imposes a maximum building height limit of 9 m on the subject site.

The DA states the building does not exceed the maximum building height according to Wollongong LEP 2009. This is contradicted by Figure 1 below which shows part of the building exceeding the 9 metre limit. This is shown below by a red line. The DA does not state the maximum height of the building. The proposal therefore does not comply with the maximum building height limit that applies to the site and therefore fails to comply with the provisions of clause 4.3.

The applicant has made an application to vary the height limitation. However, the TVC submits that the applicant has not adequately addressed the requirements of clause 4.6 of the LEP. It is the view of the TVC that any variation to the height limitation for the site should not be supported by Council given:

  •   The proposal results in an unsatisfactory level of visual impact, which is exacerbated by the excessive height;

  •   The proposal does not feature a high level of architectural merit with inadequate treatment to mitigate the visual impacts;

  •   In addition, to exceeding the height requirements of the Wollongong LEP 2009, the proposal also departs from the provisions of the Wollongong DCP 2009 which restricts development on the site to two storeys in height (the application proposes three);

  •   it is not a sound basis for a variation to point to other buildings which do not comply with height restrictions.

  • da 2

Figure 1 Part of Drawing No. 10V

Visual amenity

The DA claims the variation will not impact on overshadowing or visual amenity of the surrounding residences as demonstrated in the attached shadow analysis plans.

It can be argued that theses shadow diagrams are misleading and deceptive. For example the shading diagrams for 9 am June as shownover the page has several irregularities at the locations indicated by the blue numbers.

da 1

 

Figure 2 Shade diagram at 9am June

  1. A site inspection will show that the contour lines as shown under the blue number 2 are clearly wrong.

  2. The land at 2 is largely flat thus the shade edge as shown at 1 is not logically possible and is probably due to the truncation of the diagram.

  1. The shadow edge at point 3 could only be correct if the shadow diagrams were produced using software that was set to consider only flat land. I.e. this shadow diagram does not consider the substantial down hill slope of the land below the development site.

  2. By recent observation of the shadow cast by the power pole directly in front of 180 LHD, is fair to estimate that two adjoining residences are shaded before 10am for most of the colder months.

Thus it can be argued that the shadow analysis diagrams are both misleading and deceptive. Also, given that the neighbouring properties lie down hill from the site of it can be argued that this is possibly one of the worst building sites in Thirroul for an exemption to maximum building height.

Deep Soil planting Requirements

The Variation also claims an exemption to deep soil planting requirements. This requirement could be met if the building was smaller. Therefore it can be argued that the building is simply too big for the site.

Parking

The development proposes 2 car park locations for each unit then 1 visitor parking lot to be shared amongst the five units. TVC do not believe that 11 car spots all up will be adequate for a fifteen bedroom complex. Given the volume of traffic which uses Lawrence Hargrave Drive this will raise significant safety issues so far as ingress and egress from the subject site is concerned. It will also lead to additional on street parking to the detriment of the occupants of adjoining properties.

State Environmental Planning Policy 71 Coastal Protection

TVC believe it is obvious that the proposal cannot meet the principles of SEPP 71 which arguably apply and which can be stated as follows

“To protect and manage the natural, cultural, recreational and economic attributes of the New South Wales coast, to ensure that the visual amenity of the coast is protected, and ... to ensure that the type, bulk, scale and size of development is appropriate for the location and protects and improves the natural scenic quality of the surrounding area,”

For any tourists travelling south along Lawrence Hargrave Drive, this building will impede the first views of Thirroul and the southern escarpment. This building will dominate the view traveling north. The TVC believe that this building, by its relative bulk, will damage the visual amenity of the area. The TVC cannot see how it can be argued that this building will improve the natural scenic quality of the surrounding area. Therefore, if this DA proceeds in its present form the TVC believes it is clear that Council will fail to “protect and manage the natural and economic attributes of the New South Wales coast”

Flooding Risk Area

The subject site is clearly affected by stormwater given its siting being constructed proximate to Kelly's Creek, a significant Escarpment watercourse.

It is noted that the application is not accompanied by a Flood Risk Report. On that basis, it is considered that the proposal should not be approved in its current form.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (s 79c)

In determining a development application, a consent authority is to take into consideration

(b) the likely impacts of that development, including environmental impacts on both the natural and built environments, and social and economic impacts in the locality,

(e) the public interest.

Design and Siting

Having regard to the design and siting of the dwelling, the applicant has attempted to justify the proposal. Whilst the site constraints are acknowledged, it is considered, as noted above, that the proposal does not properly respond to the setting and will be out of character with the established streetscape. A unique feature of the Northern Illawarra is the low density nature of its residential dwellings. If approved in its present form the TVC is concerned that this could be the first step in building a concrete canyon along Lawrence Hargrave Drive - one of the most popular and scenic tourist drives in NSW. As noted above, the TVC believes this development will have a negative impact on Thirroul as a national tourism asset.

Public Interest

There have been several large public meetings to discuss development in Thirroul. Each meeting endorsed a two storey limit outside the shopping precincts of Thirroul. When asked, members of TVC cannot recall meeting any local residents who want this building to proceed.

Summary

  •   The DA fails to meet the requirements of Illawarra regional environment plan No. 1.

  •   It that it fails to meet the principles of State Environmental Planning Policy 71

    Coastal Protection and the EPA Act.

  •   The DA fails to adequately address flooding impacts of the proposed development.

  •   There is no adequate justification for any departure from the height and storey limits imposed on developments at the subject site.

  •   The TVC would assert that it does not meet the desired outcomes of nearby residents and the local community.

    Recommendation

    TVC believe that Council should fulfil its obligation under the above statutes and planning instruments by rejecting this application in its current form. We feel that Council is obliged to advise the developer of such and recommend a suitable alternate style of development.

    Yours sincerely,

    Murray Jones
    Secretary
    Thirroul Village Committee PO Box 123
    Thirroul 2515

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