Wollongong councillors have voted to increase height restrictions from nine metres to 15 metres at the former Headlands Hotel site at Austinmer to accommodate a proposed $25million complex.
The recommendation had been for councillors to amend the Wollongong Local Environment plan to allow four lots – about 20 per cent of the site – to have a height limit of 15 metres.
Cr Jill Merrin, who operates a small bed and breakfast in Austinmer, introduced a motion that a public hearing be held, following which the planning proposal come back to council.
However, the original draft planning proposal was passed nine votes to four.
On Saturday, the Illawarra Mercury reported the site’s current owner, The Stevens Charles Property Group, as saying there were no plans to offer serviced apartments in the proposed hotel as permanent accommodation.
However, the council’s item paper included a statement that the owner had lodged an amendment to the current council-imposed conditions preventing permanent residencies at the site.
‘‘The proponent argues that the flexibility to also provide permanent accommodation will provide increased financial funding opportunities,’’ the item paper read.
The amendment is now under assessment, however councillors heard council management had not taken the view to support it.
The council received 27 submissions after it first endorsed the plan and put it up for public exhibition, including 25 community submissions with 19 objections.
Last night, Stephen Allen, from the Headlands Community Action Group, said the proposed changes to building height restrictions did not fit with the current vision for Austinmer. ‘‘Council is proposing to irreversibly change the character of Austinmer,’’ he said.
He said the changes would transform Austinmer from ‘‘a village into a town’’. However, Cr Leigh Colacino said the whole Wollongong community should be considered.