Club Seeks Umpire’s Call on Rejected Senior Living Project


A western Sydney bowling club has taken its ambitious plans for an 18-storey mixed-use development to the Department of Planning and the Environment, after the Hills Shire Council refused to endorse the project.

The 85-year-old Hills District Bowling Club is hoping the Sydney Central Planning Panel will decide on the $50-million redevelopment by the end of April.

The club’s plan seeks to retain at least two playing greens and a clubhouse but add up to 196 apartments as well as 32 senior-living units in four buildings on its 1.34ha site at 6-18 Jenner Street, in Baulkham Hills.

About 3100sq m of floor space would have been given over to the registered club and 152sq m for commercial and retail floor space. The concept plans show a single building—with a six-storey podium— fronting Old Northern Road. Three smaller buildings of five to six storeys would open to Jenner Street.

The plans were first made public in August 2020 during pre-lodgement meetings between the bowling club and the Hills Shire. A formal development application was filed in March 2021.

In the 18 months since then, the plans have been revised at least twice, which saw the main tower reduced from 21 storeys to 16, and the number of residential units dropping by 43. The latest plans had also reduced the clubhouse to two floors rather than the original three.

Still Hill Shire said no, citing the main building’s uplift, height and setbacks, as well as concerns with traffic and transport.

▲ In knocking back the proposal, the Hills Shire also said no to $7.65 million in Voluntary Planning Agreements by the developer.

In a report to the council, Hills’ manager of forward planning, Nicholas Carlton, pointed out that at 63m, the 18-storey residential tower would be the tallest building in an area. The maximum building height is set at 50 metres.

Carlton’s report also raised regional and transport issues, which impede development within the Baulkham Hills town centre.

“The proposal is inconsistent with the policy position articulated within council’s LSPS (Local Strategic Planning Statement), which specifically identifies that council will ‘discourage commercial and residential uplift in Baulkham Hills town centre until transport and traffic issues are resolved’,” the council meeting was told.

“The development concept submitted demonstrates an outcome which is beyond the built form capacity of the site.”

▲ Hills Bowling Club has lowered the height of the proposed club rooms and restaurant from three storeys to two.

The council agreed, but in knocking back the proposal, the Hills Shire also said no—for the time-being at least— to $7.65 million in Voluntary Planning Agreements, including $2.85 million in local infrastructure contributions.

Voluntary Planning Agreements, or VPAs, are agreed between developers and government agencies (including councils) for money or works by the developer for infrastructure, services or other public amenities typically negotiated at the time of rezoning.

Hills bowling club management would not comment on the rezoning review, other than to say the plans before the Sydney Central Planning Panel had not changed from those refused by Hills Shire.


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