Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has backflipped in his stance on controversial rezoning plans for Gleniffer Brae after using his casting vote to overturn an earlier decision on the matter.
Bradbery broke a six-all voting deadlock this evening to overturn the council's December 10 decision to reject a rezoning proposal for the heritage-listed manor house, accompanying gardens and adjacent old school buildings.
The changes would have paved the way for the University of Wollongong to realise its plans to lease the manor house for use as a function centre and demolish the school buildings to redevelop the site into an arts hub.
Cr Bradbery has previously voiced strong support for the university's plans and indicated last week he would forge ahead with the zoning change should the rescission motion be successful.
However, he shocked onlookers and fellow councillors this evening when he joined councillors Janice Kershaw, Chris Connor, Ann Martin, Vicki Curran and Greg Petty in voting against the rezoning motion, put forward by Cr Michelle Blicavs.
He did not give a reason for the decision on the floor of council.
Meantime, councillors spent more than an hour and a half debating different options for the future of Gleniffer Brae once the rescission motion was accepted.
Councillors put forward at least six separate motions detailing suggestions for how the council should proceed in deciding future options for Gleniffer Brae.
Councillors ultimately voted in favour of Cr John Dorahy's motion, which called for a report to come to the council detailing what work needed to be done to restore the manor house and surrounding gardens; how much it would cost; and future options for the former school buildings that aren't detrimental to the overall integrity of the property.
As part of the motion, the council also resolved to keep Gleniffer Brae in council ownership and only consider future leases that showed a "benefit to the council and the community".