The Aussie Arms’ beer garden could soon be rubble after Penrith Council altered local planning controls to make way for future high-rise development of the land.
The site, which includes the heritage hotel, covered beer garden, car park and an electrical substation, is currently subject to a 12-metre building height restriction to ensure future development does not overwhelm heritage buildings.
But this will be doubled to 24 metres after a majority of Councillors rubber-stamped changes to height controls as well as an increase in floor space ratio from 3:1 to 3.5:1.
No increase in height is proposed for the existing hotel, which is intended to be retained.
While there is currently no development application (DA) pending, the amendments allow for future uses such as the concept design – a 120-room, four-star hotel with conference and function facilities – which was included in the Planning Proposal.
During Monday night’s Policy Review Committee Meeting, Penrith resident Sylvana (Surname withheld) spoke against the motion, imploring Councillors to reduce the size of the Proposal.
Sylvana, who will be personally impacted by the changes, said a high-rise would obstruct her Blue Mountains views, depreciate property values along The Crescent and “steal the integrity of Penrith”.
She also expressed concerns about overshadowing, noise pollution and contended the envisaged development, to be located opposite the Allen Place car park on Lawson Street, would “put more pressure on our roads”.
An outdoor entertainment area incorporated in any new development is still permissible under existing controls, and is consistent with Council’s strategies to improve the night-time activation of Penrith City Centre, according to a Council report.
However, any future development proposed to generate noise impacts will be required to complete a noise strategy as part of the DA process.
There are also controls to ensure the new development is “sympathetic” in design to local heritage items.
The Heritage Advisory Committee generally supported the proposed amendments, particularly as they facilitate conservation of the heritage hotel.
Councillors Karen McKeown, Kevin Crameri and Robin Cook voted against the recommendation. Councillors John Thain and Aaron Duke were absent.
The Planning Proposal was on exhibition from May 31 to June 30 and received three submissions during the consultation process.
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Senior News Reporter, primarily covering courts and Council issues.