Wollongong City Council has disputed claims made by the North Wollongong surf club president about the heritage significance of the iconic building.
But surf lifesaving club president David Meredith stands by his claims that the surf club is not listed in the Wollongong Development Control Plan as a heritage item.
A council spokesman said the club building was listed as a local heritage item under schedule five of the Wollongong Local Environment Plan 2009 and is located within Stuart Park which is also a local heritage item. It is also located just to the north of the North Beach Precinct State Heritage Area.
Mr Meredith said the council's own planning documents were inconsistent.
Heritage issues have arisen over the committee's renovation plans which include a commercial bistro and bar, bigger balcony and biofold doors.
The Wollongong Local Planning Panel, which is assessing the application, said the balcony is permitted on the eastern side of the building but can not extend onto the original 1936 portion of the building.
The panel also determined that windows on the eastern side were to be replaced to reflect the original 1936 openings to ensure the heritage significance of the building and the character of the precinct is maintained.
The council's development control plan, under the North Beach Precinct and Belmore Basin Heritage Conservation Area states "the North Beach Precinct includes the North Beach Kiosk and Residence, the North Beach Bathers Pavilion building, tramway cutting and archaeological site of Puckey's Salt Works. This precinct is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register".
"We believe there are a number of inconsistencies in the way the council applies the heritage provisions in their local environment plan," Mr Meredith said.
"The surf club is not mentioned in the council's development control plan under the North Beach Precinct.
"The council has allowed an addition to Diggies cafe, which is in the heritage Kiosk and changes to the bulk and scale of the Bathers Pavilion.
"Diggies and the Bathers Pavilion have been granted heritage inconsistencies so they can function better yet the same concessions have not be given to the surf club.
"The club is a volunteers organisation that services the community and trains children whereas the other two buildings are cafes."
The spokesman said the council was working with the applicant and club to address the design changes requested by the panel.
"Council has been engaging with local residents and members of the Surf Lifesaving Club since 2018 on the proposal," he said.
Mr Meredith still hopes "common sense prevails" and the club is permitted to extend the deck to the end of the building.
He said the structure was "unrecognisable" to the original 1936 club and had several changes over the decades including being rendered to give it a uniform appearance.
He said without the full balcony and biofold doors that a commercial operator would not be able to effectively utilise the first floor as a bistro which would affect the viability of the club into the future.