A $6 million redevelopment of the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club has been approved after a planning panel found a partial loss of beach views to the RSL club and neighbouring apartments was “acceptable”.
The Joint Regional Planning Panel supported the council's assessment there would be little impact on views from the RSL club's dining room and bistro and four apartments in boutique block The Dunes.
Surf club officials welcomed the decision, saying it had taken five years to get to approval stage, and it was hoped work would start in about 18 months.
Apartment owners were disappointed a suggested last-minute compromise did not eventuate.
The RSL club and residents submitted a sloping roof to be built over the balcony on the southern end of the surf club would take away views of the beach.
Council’s architect stated the roof would have “minimal impact”.
The JRPP said in its decision there was general agreement renewal of the surf club was necessary, desirable and served a social purpose.
”On balance, the panel accepts that, in the context of the panoramic views available to the apartments at 3 Ocean Road and to the RSL Club, the view impact is acceptable,” the panel said.
”The panel also accepts that lowering the roof would make very little change to that impact, which is mainly due to the roof extending towards the ocean.
“However, if the roof were required to be pulled back, the usefulness of the balcony as a public venue would be greatly reduced.”
The panel rejected another objection that the additions were not sympathetic to the original building.
It said it was “satisfied on the basis of the council’s heritage advice that the proposed alterations are appropriate.”
A resident, who did not wish to be named, said he was a long-time member of another surf club and understood the need for the Cronulla facilities to be upgraded.
“But, that could have been done without a high sloping roof that will take away part of our view of the beach,” he said.
“At present, I can see my grandchildren playing on the beach.”
The resident said, after the final public hearing, a panel member suggested a compromise was needed.
“But, we heard nothing further before the decision was handed down,” he said.
Surf club deputy president Daniel Wood said the redevelopment would “improve facilities for members and provide equitable access to all members of the community”.
“The building has been added on to several times over the years in an ad hoc fashion, and so the functionality isn’t that great,” he said.
“We don’t meet disability or fire safety requirements.
“This will bring it into the 21st century.”
Mr Wood said it had been “a hard, long road” to get to approval stage and they were looking forward to moving to construction, which they hoped would occur in about 18 months.
Further funding was being sought at state and federal levels, he said.
The surf club was formed in 1907 and the first clubhouse was a tram on the beach.
The present clubhouse was opened in 1940, added to in the sixties, seventies and again in the mid nineties when the Purcell wing was added.