The North Wollongong surf club wants to move with the times and overhaul its aging beach side building.
But Wollongong City Council's heritage officer wants to ensure the iconic structure maintains some of its history.
The surf life saving club committee's plans - which have been lodged as a development application with Wollongong City Council - would see the building renovated to include a commercial bistro and bar, bigger balcony and biofold doors to better appreciate the beautiful view.
The proposed new club would be reminiscent of Queensland surf clubs.
However, the heritage officer has halted those plans.
The officer has ordered the balcony needs to stop six metres shy of the southern end of the building and the current windows on the eastern side need to be replaced with small windows similar to those on the original 1936 structure.
Club president David Meredith is bewildered by the advice and says the heritage recommendations are based on incorrect facts. "The surf club is not a heritage building because it is not listed on the NSW heritage list or as a heritage item in the Wollongong Council Development Control Plan," he said.
"The whole structure of our club building has been rendered to give it a uniform appearance, and the 1936 structure is no longer recognisable. We fully support the heritage aspects being maintained on the western and southern sides of the building.
"The changes we are requesting on the eastern side are not visible from the grassed area in front of the kiosk and Bathers Pavilion and therefore don't have an impact.
"It will look like half a deck. We are hoping common sense prevails."
The development application was deferred by the Wollongong Local Planning Panel until the heritage issues could be addressed.
The club's honourary solicitor Mark McDonald said the panel was given incorrect information and it was up to council to review the decision.
The men argue the adjacent restaurant Diggies, which is inside a heritage-listed building, was permitted to add an outdoor alfresco dining platform and the surf club committee should be allowed the same opportunity to modify its building.
Mr Meredith said he hoped the renovation would attract new members and keep the club viable into the future.
"The bistro and bar, run by a commercial operator, will be open to members, visitors, residents every day and will hopefully attract new members so the club can continue to patrol the beach," he said. "We have a magnificent view that we want to share with the community."
The committee is also seeking to change the ground floor to include male and female change rooms, a gym, first aid room, storage areas and a food preparation area.