St Basil's - The Spot

Nov 2012 UPDATE

The matter comes before the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) on Mon 3 Dec, 5pm at Randwick Town Hall for determination.  The 10 level 'central' tower has been reduced to an 8 level building. Still massively overscale for the adjoining heritage conservation area of The Spot in our view.

The assessment report dismisses the overshadowing impact on adjoining residential homes, even though these homes will not receive the MINIMUM solar exposure required.  The report also 'glosses over' the impact of high floor space ratio (buildings to site area) of 1.82 to 1 compared to the previously approved 1.1 to 1.  By way of comparison, the residential area is permitted 0.9 to 1, so clearly double this floor space ratio for a residential facility is excessive.  To say the surrounding area of "The Spot" as it is known, particularly St Pauls Street, being the only vehicular entty to the site is saturated with traffic congestion is to unstate the problem.

We accept the need for more aged care in our community, but clearly the height and floor space ratio of this proposal is excessive.  Let's hope the JRPP either reject this application or only approve plans for reduced height of the 'central tower' (now 8 levels) which would also mitigate the excessive floor space ratio.

 

May 2012 UPDATE

St Basils held community consultation on 21 March 2012 and since have issued a draft record of comments to attendees, which will be released publically later in May on their website: stbasilsrandwick.com.au

The questions can be basically divided into 2 being:

1. related to the aged care facility when built and

2. concerns about the scale of the proposal.

On the second question, regarding the scale of the proposal, the major concern remains with the height of the tower proposal, now scaled back to 9 levels, supposedly below or within the existing tree line.  St Basils said they wanted to preserve as many of the large trees as possible on the site, whereas the community preferred lower level buildings, even if this meant a larger site footprint.  In particular, maintaining visual amenity from the surrounding area (including the heritage conservation area "The Spot" and reducing overshadowing impacts on neighbouring residential properties were the main concerns.

Of course, there is concern about traffic and parking on the already congested St Pauls Street (the only vehicle access to the site).  But cleverly, by getting community concern focused on the HEIGHT of the proposed buildings, the SCALE of the plans has been overlooked.  Proposed is a floor-space ratio of 1.69 to 1.  The surrounding residential area is 0.9 to 1.  Allowing a 0.5 to 1 bonus for aged care, gives a floor space ratio of 1.4 to 1, but this does not seem sufficient for St Basils.

 

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This site is in St Pauls Street, corner of Daintrey Cres, just along from the Ritz Cinema and adjoining the Brigidine School site.  St Basils is the aged care arm of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia.  They operate a number of aged care facilities around Australia.

The site originally was part of Brigidine but now belongs to St Basils, which is a Greek Orthodox religious organisation who for this site plan aged care, consisiting of a nursing home (around 100 beds) in buildings of about 4-5 levels (where the old tennis courts of Brigidine were) plus about 80 'independent living units' (apartments) - this being the 18 level tower block.

The site already has planning consent for around 125 'independent living units' in buildings up to 7 levels high, this being gained by the Department of Housing in 2000 or 2001 before they sold the land to St Basils.  The main reason St Basils say they want an 18 level building is to 'reduce the footprint' of buildings and retain more trees, in particular the fig trees.

We are not convinced.  A 18 storey building will be very prominent for the surrounding area given that this site is located on high part of Randwick.  And would we be so cynical to suggest that some of the trees be protected will in future 'die', thus permitting more development, aged care being in "such high demand" by vunerable elderly migrant communities, or some such spin ?

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