Plans to build a massive residential complex in the foothills of Mount Keira have been quashed by a NSW Government planning panel, which says the proposal would negatively affect the area in a number of ways.
Keiraville residents described the unanimous decision by the Southern Regional Planning Panel to reject the development called The Cosgrove - planned for 14 Cosgrove Avenue Keiraville - as "a win for Greater Wollongong, the escarpment and the environment".
The $30 million proposal, lodged with Wollongong City Council late last year by Chinese development group offshoot, Surewin Parkview, would have seen 47 three and four bedroom homes built into the escarpment across five buildings which were to be stepped up a steep hill at the back of Keiraville.
In a decision published last week, the panel said the proposal's built form, scale and visual impact, as well as "the extent of modification of the natural landscape" would have a significant adverse impact in the area.
Earlier this year, the plans attracted criticism from nearby residents, who said it was a "massive overdevelopment or mini-city" which would add to the traffic and parking problems in their already congested suburb, and dominate the view of the escarpment from many prominent sites across Wollongong.
They also worried about building in a high fire risk zone and raised concerns about flooding, land slippage on the steep slope, noise, street lighting and access for emergency vehicles on the narrow driveway proposed to link the 47 homes.
There were 104 objections submitted to the council.
The planning panel agreed that the site was not suitable for the development, and highlighted that the developer had failed to submit amended plans and additional information requested by the council to enable it to properly assess the application.
Additionally, the plans were "unacceptable and inconsistent" with the councils controls for heritage conservation, biodiversity, earthworks and conservation of the escarpment and would "set an undesirable precedent for similar inappropriate development".
At a Sunday meeting of the Keiraville Residents Action Group, which reformed this year to fight the development, members thanked the panel and the council for opposing the DA.
However, they also expressed concern that the escarpment and foothills were "vulnerable to further attacks by developers" unless the council tightens planning controls.
"There is a need for resident groups across the Illawarra to unite to ensure Wollongong doesn't get despoiled by developments that have a detrimental impact on residents, the escarpment and the environment," spokeswoman Yvonne Toepfer said.