High-rise neighbour plan for historic Sunnyside refused by planning panel

A photo montage of the proposed development as originally designed and viewed from the Princes Highway frontage.
A photo montage of the proposed development as originally designed and viewed from the Princes Highway frontage.

A proposal to build a $17.5 million seven-storey block with 50 apartments next to the heritage-listed Sunnyside mansion at Kogarah Bay has been refused by the Georges River Local Planning Panel.

The Panel refused the application on the grounds that the proposed tower would have an unacceptable impact on the heritage significance of Sunnyside due to its overwhelming scale.

The proposal was for Sunnyside at 186-190 Princes Highway and adjoining properties at 2-6 Lacey Street, Kogarah Bay.

The heritage listed Victorian mansion called 'Sunnyside' was built in the 1870s and is one of the oldest buildings in the St George region.

The heritage listed Victorian mansion called 'Sunnyside' was built in the 1870s and is one of the oldest buildings in the St George region.

Sunnyside is regarded by some as the oldest property in St George and Sutherland Shire.

It was built c.1870 and was home to Irish immigrant Matthew Carroll and his family.

Over the decades has been a farmhouse, flats, Church of England rectory, kindergarten and a boarding house.

A proposal to convert it into a McDonalds restaurant in 1993 met with community opposition.

In 1995 it was purchased for $450,000 by Neil Bown who would spend 18 years restoring it. In September 2014 he sold Sunnyside for $2 million plus.

The 3,078 square-metre site has a 39-metre frontage to Princes Highway, 76-metres to Lacey Street and 31-metres to Wyuna Street at the rear.

The development would have included two levels of basement parking for 93 cars.

It would have included alterations and restoration works to Sunnyside, retaining the two-storey building and providing a communal area on the ground floor extensive landscaping in the grounds.

The proposal has been amended twice to address concerns by the council's Design Review Panel and Heritage Advisor regarding the height and scale of the development when viewed from nearby Wyuna Street.

In its amended form it still exceeded high controls but the developer submitted that the proposal was a reasonable planning and design outcome considering the site's constraints and felt it would not adversely affect the heritage integrity of Sunnyside.

The report by Georges River Council recommended approval.

There were 14 submissions raising concerns about traffic, privacy, design, height, scale, bulk of the proposed development and its relationship to the integrity of the heritage-listed Sunnyside.

Objectors included Georges River councillors Leesha Payor and Nick Katris.

The panel found the bulk, scale and length of the Lacey Street building facade was excessive in impact on the street and surrounding properties.

The proposed development would set an undesirable precedent in terms of its relationship to Sunnyside for the future site planning of neighbouring properties, the panel said.

It would have an inappropriate transition in terms of bulk and scale resulting in unacceptable results such as overshadowing and the visual impact.

The Panel's decision was unanimous.

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