Developers behind a proposal to build more than 100 new terrace apartments and low-rise flats on the old Port Kembla Public School site are pushing ahead with their controversial plan, urging Wollongong councillors to end an “unreasonable delay” in rezoning the land.
Last June, councillors voted to defer a decision on changing the land to be allow for medium density homes pending further information from the developer.
Some councillors labelled the proposal “ludicrous” warning against gentrification and a history of contamination and pollution, while others praised the idea for more homes saying they would boost ailing businesses in the town.
Now the site owner, not named by Wollongong council but listed as Ostoja Vujic on title documents, has asked the council to take action and progress the planning proposal to the next stage.
After receiving information about traffic, noise and heritage impacts from the developer, council staff have recommended the council forward the request to the NSW Government, with the mixed use site to be reclassified to allow medium density housing.
At least five per cent of the homes within the future development would be affordable rental housing, according to the staff recommendation, and nearby Gallipoli Park would be rezoned from low density residential to public recreation land.
If the NSW Planning department agrees to allow the rezoning to progress, the developers will be required to consult with residents and a list of government stakeholders, and prepare a new chapter for Wollongong council’s development control plan.
They will need to incorporate a heritage plan – which includes the social and environmental history of the former school – and consider possible industrial noise from the port when designing homes to make sure future residents’ quality of life is not affected.
Explaining their advice to allow the plan to proceed, the council’s senior planning staff said residential use would support Port Kembla by increasing nearby residential population.
“The Port Kembla 2505 Revitalisation Plan identifies the site as being appropriate for residential use,” their report said.
Councillors will debate the staff recommendation on the rezoning proposal at Monday night’s meeting. The revitalisation plan is also due for adoption.