Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has launched an ambitious bid to revive the University of Wollongong’s development plans for the Gleniffer Brae precinct.
Cr Bradbery will ask his fellow councillors at their meeting next Tuesday to overturn their December 10 decision not to proceed with land reclassification plans encompassing the manor house, heritage-listed gardens and an adjoining 1.2 hectares of land that houses classrooms formerly used by the Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School (SCEGGS).
The controversial rezoning would have paved the way for UOW to forge ahead with its $30million plans to lease the manor house for 30 years, refurbish it and turn it into a function centre, and buy the SCEGGS buildings, which would have been demolished to make way for a creative arts hub.
The council’s rejection of the plans led UOW to formally withdraw its interest in the site before Christmas.
However, Cr Bradbery yesterday revealed he would put forward a rescission motion to next Tuesday's council meeting, seeking to have the decision overturned.
He said he wanted to give the university the chance to reconsider its stand, describing the council's December 10 decision as "wrong".
"I believe the university case still has merit," he said.
"I don't believe a month makes a difference - I would like to open the offer [of Gleniffer Brae] to the university again."
Cr Bradbery said he had not spoken to UOW about whether it would revisit its plans should the rescission motion succeed and the land reclassification go ahead.
A UOW receptionist yesterday told the Mercury the university would not be commenting on the rescission motion as the person responsible for the proposal, administration vice-principal Chris Grange, was on holiday.
Liberal councillors Michelle Blicavs, Leigh Colacino and John Dorahy are signatories to the rescission motion, as is Labor councillor Ann Martin, who campaigned fiercely against the lease of the manor house last year.
Cr Martin said she supported the rescission motion because she believed the council needed to consult stakeholders, residents and the general community on the future of the precinct.
She said if the rescission motion was successful she planned to move a motion seeking to have a community reference panel set up to get public feedback on opportunities for both the manor house and the old SCEGGS site.