Public opinion over the future of Keiraville's historic Gleniffer Brae manor house remains divided, with a public hearing on Tuesday night drawing heated arguments from both sides.
More than 100 people attended the Town Hall meeting to discuss council plans to reclassify the entire Gleniffer Brae site from community to operational land and sell part of the land to the University of Wollongong.
The university plans to restore the manor house to operate a function centre, and build a three-storey creative arts centre in place of existing classrooms used by the Conservatorium of Music.
Of 16 speakers at the forum, 10 said council should reject the university's proposal, and raised concerns about the heritage and environmental value of the manor house and surrounding gardens.
Gleniffer Brae Community Support Group convener Bess Moylan said the council had failed to conduct genuine community consultation before allowing the university to submit a plan for its use of the historic and valuable site.
Similarly, Neighbourhood Forum 5 member Les Gapps said it was irrelevant to talk about the merits of the university's proposal because the real issue was the site heritage value and the reclassification of community land.
"If we let this in, we will never, ever have the chance of seeing that heritage site as public land again," Mr Gapps said.
Those who spoke in favour of the university's plan said it would help to secure a future for the conservatorium, boost cultural life and the economy, and provide talented musicians with a more-direct tertiary education pathway.
Keiraville resident Harold Hansen said there needed to be further consideration of parking spaces and other issues affecting residents, but urged people to support a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to benefit young creative arts students, the university, and Wollongong residents.