Councillors have voted to approve two four-story apartment buildings in Shellharbour Village, prompting concerns the area is losing its character and becoming a “developers paradise”.
At Tuesday’s meeting, all but one councillor voted that a $7.3 million, four-storey residential building at 23A and 23B Addison Street – which is now vacant but was formally home to Shellharbour Presbyterian Church – should go ahead.
It will have 17 apartments – some which have already been sold for about $800,000 – and four commercial tenancies, as well as basement parking for 34 cars.
Backing on to the Addison Street development, facing Wentworth Street, the council gave approval for another four-storey block with three residences and two shops.
During the debate, councillors addressed community concerns about over-development and heritage.
Councillor Helen Stewart, who voted against the plans, was worried many areas in Shellharbour would end up as “massive high-rises” similar to the village plans.
“Shellharbour is going to be a developers paradise,” she said. “I feel pressured with this, because people are mentioning that if we knock it back we could go to the Land and Environment Court. But I have to make a decision I can live with… and I feel for the residents.”
Marianne Saliba agreed “things in Shellharbour are going to get tighter, in terms of development”, saying the NSW Government had been pushing for more density on smaller lots of land,
However, during the meeting, she and other councillors noted the council had previously proposed heritage listing the former church site, however this drew “major objection” from the community so was reversed.
Liberal councillor Kellie Marsh spoke in favour of the two developments, as she said a number of businesses in the village were struggling.
“In 2011 when we started to undertake the [Local Environment Plan] the community did not want a heritage-listed blanket ban on Shellharbour Village and we listened to them,” she said.
Similarly, John Murray said it was the council’s responsibility to stick to its own development rules.
“We developed our village town plan to try and promote good development in the village, so it can go ahead and stand alone as Shell Cove is developed,” John Murray said.
“Whether I like it or not, this development complies and it’s our responsibility to make sure that it does and then to approve it.”