Nine-storey Wolli Creek boarding house knocked back

An artist impression of the nine-storey boarding house proposed for 11 Gertrude Street, Wolli Creek.

An artist impression of the nine-storey boarding house proposed for 11 Gertrude Street, Wolli Creek.

An application to build a $9 million, nine-storey, 59-room boarding house at Gertrude Street, Wolli Creek, has been refused by the Bayside Local Planning panel.

While the area is zoned R4 High Density Residential which permits boarding houses, the planning panel found the proposed development was not suitable for the site.

The development application was for a 559 square-metre site which has a 12.85m frontage to Gertrude street.

But the panel found the application had no details containing the proposed number of lodgers per room and there was no boarding house plan of management.

The building would have contained a manager's residence and six boarding rooms on level one, eight boarding rooms per level on levels two to seven, and four boarding rooms plus indoor and outdoor communal space on level eight.

A maximum height limit of 29.5-metres applies to the site. The proposal has a maximum height of 27.4-metres which complies but the floor heights proposed for levels one to eight were 2.7m which was considered unsatisfactory and did not promote a good level of amenity.

The plans included a mechanical car lift and stacker system at the lower basement level capable to accommodate 30 vehicles.

There was one objection to the application on the basis that the boarding house would bring "undesirable elements" into the immediate area.

But the Local Planning Panel defended the image of boarding houses.

"Opposition to boarding houses, in some cases reflects a lack of awareness of the people who are likely to occupy boarding houses," the local planning panels report stated.

"There is a social stigma attached to the boarding house industry, with many perceiving the traditional boarding house as primarily accommodating undesirable people.

"Many of the new generation boarding houses are more akin to a block of studio apartments with communal facilities.

"New generation boarding houses offer an investment opportunity to develop housing stock for a wide clientele including students, single women, young working singles and couples.

"These are ordinary citizens and it cannot be assumed that they will generate different and/or negative social impacts because they are living in a particular type of building.

"Many of the occupants of boarding houses have jobs, often key workers, who are looking for accommodation close to the place where they work."

But while the panel found that a boarding house was permissible with the R4 zoning, it found the site was unsuitable for the scale of the proposed development.

The mechanical car stacking was not seen as practical.

"The overall design and scale of the proposed development is not responsive to the restrictive width of the site," the panel concluded.

"The proposed development is not considered to be in the public interest and is likely to set an undesirable precedent."

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