The company behind the proposed redevelopment of the Headlands Hotel site has denied it plans to offer the serviced apartments as residences.
The Stevens Charles Property Group this week released artist’s impressions of its proposed $25million development for the Austinmer site based on an existing approval to build a combined hotel, restaurant and serviced apartments on the site.
A spokesman for the developers said a number of international hotel operators were under consideration to run the facility, including the Peppers group.
The development is based on an application approved in 2004, which remains active because some works had started on the application in 2007.
The Stevens Charles Property Group has, however, sought modifications to the approved application to remove conditions that restrict the use of the serviced apartments.
The proponent argues that the flexibility to provide permanent accommodation provides ‘‘increased financial funding opportunities’’.
The developers said restrictions requiring the serviced apartments to be available for use as tourist accommodation for 12 months of the year were ‘‘unreasonable and unnecessary as they may provide a restraint to trade’’.
However the move saw some Austinmer residents accuse the developers of planning to build a residential apartment block ‘‘by stealth’’ on the prime piece of coastal land.
The council had received 52 comments on the proposed amendments when submissions closed on Wednesday.
These submissions and the application are now being assessed by council staff before being presented to councillors for determination at a later date.
The Stevens Charles Property Group spokesman said the proposed operating model was a common one and said while there would be 69 rooms, there would be 41 ‘‘front doors’’ as some apartments would have more than one room.
‘‘Their use will be strictly controlled and monitored by an on-site manager and an enforceable serviced apartments management agreement,’’ the spokesman said.
‘‘The apartments will be sold to investors who see the financial benefits a high occupancy serviced apartment can bring.
‘‘Permanent residency will not be permitted. Owners are expected to use their apartments at various times – particularly when they are not let by the letting pool.’’
Meantime, the draft planning proposal for the Brickyard Point Headlands Hotel Austinmer Vision will be presented to Wollongong Council on Monday night.
The draft planning proposal process began more than two years ago before the current owners purchased the site and announced their plans.
Twenty-seven submissions were received during the June 24 to August 2 exhibition period.
The proposal will see new development controls placed on the site, which include lifting the height limit from nine metres to 15 metres on the western part of the site.
While part of a separate process to the Stevens Charles Property Group proposal, the developers’ plans would comply with the constraints of the draft planning proposal.
The restrictions established in the planning proposal would remain on the site regardless of the outcome of the Stevens Charles Property Group development.
The iconic site has been the subject of 15 development applications over the past 28 years, with 10 of these determined in the Land and Environment Court.