A proposed development application (DA) to demolish two buildings and build a hospice and medical centre has been refused.
The proposed development included the demolition of buildings at 104 to 106 Bowral Street in Bowral, and the construction of a hospice comprising of 10 private patient rooms, a medical centre comprising of six consulting rooms and six office rooms, and a car park for 39 cars.
The discussion about the proposed DA went for more than an hour at the ordinary meeting held at the Moss Vale Civic Centre on Wednesday, October 10.
Members of the public spoke for and against the item, while councillors debated the proposed DA and focused on several factors.
Councillor Grahame Andrews declared a pecuniary interest and was not present for the discussion, while deputy mayor Garry Turland was absent from the meeting.
The council report recommended approving the proposed DA, subject to certain conditions of consent.
Councillor Graham McLaughlin put forward a motion to refuse the recommendations based on several factors, including height concerns and front and rear setbacks not meeting the Development Control Plans (DCP).
Cr McLaughlin also suggested the development was incompatible with the Bowral conservation area DCP and raised concerns about traffic congestion in the area.
Cr McLaughlin argued that the hospice wouldn’t attract state or federal funding, and therefore questioned the future financial viability of the proposed DA.
He suggested another site would be more suitable.
“I’m all for the best possible end-of-life care, but I don’t think this is the most feasible option,” Cr McLaughlin said.
Other councillors raised concerns about the funding model and argued if it failed, the area would have a large unoccupied and non-heritage building left on site.
Councillor Larry Whipper put forward an amendment that the matter be deferred so the items raised as part of the refusal be submitted to the applicant so they can reconsider them before it returned to council at a future date.
The deferral was lost after it was put to a vote.
The original recommendation was also lost with four votes to three.
Councillors Ken Halstead, Graham McLaughlin, Peter Nelson and Gordon Markwart voted to refuse the DA, while Mayor Duncan Gair and councillors Ian Scandrett and Larry Whipper voted for the original recommendation for approval of the proposed development.
The next move will be determined by the Southern Highlands Hospice Committee.