A bid from the Novotel Northbeach to add a luxury penthouse to the top floor of the hotel has failed due to concerns it would block out light for beachgoers.
Wollongong council planners and the independent Wollongong Local Planning Panel last week agreed to reject the Novotel's plans, which would have delivered a "high-end presidential suite" overlooking the ocean.
The panel said the hotel had not mounted a successful case why a variation to the building height should be allowed, and said the overshadowing created by the extra room would have affected the North Beach precinct - a state heritage area.
"It does not comply with the height limit and will have significant visual and overshadowing impacts on the state heritage listed North Beach Precinct, as well as set undesirable precedent for future development in the area," a council report said.
The officers said the extra room would block out midwinter sunlight at the beach to an unacceptable level, and recommended refusal on these grounds, as well as concerns regarding the height limit.
Appealing to the WLPP panel last Wednesday night, a spokesman for the hotel said he strongly rejected the council's view.
He said the developers were well aware of the heritage issues when lodging their proposal, and had made efforts to comply with requests from the NSW Heritage office to limit overshadowing.
"Shadow diagrams show that there is some shadow cast by the existing building on the bathers pavilion and the beach in the afternoon... and we can only describe the additional shadow caused by the addition as negligible," he said.
He also said the building (which stands at 31 metres high) was already higher than the allowable council height limit of 24 metres, which had been imposed on the site after the building was already in place.
"The site is in a tourist zone... what's driving this proposal is the Novotel's existing lack of ability to meet certain needs for accommodation, this being the high-end presidential suite," he said.
"This demand has come with Wollongong growing as a city, and that need brings with it the types of needs of large cities."
He said the suite could have catered for visits by dignitaries and performers, who currently travelled back to Sydney for their accommodation needs when visiting Wollongong.