The Independent Planning Commission (the Commission) has granted consent to plans for a multimillion-dollar redevelopment of Greenwich Hospital.
HammondCare sought concept approval for a new 150-bed hospital building, respite care facility, two seniors living buildings and 329 car parking spaces on the 3.4-hectare River Road site.
Under the $141.5-million proposal, all existing buildings would be demolished – except for the heritage-listed Pallister House.
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (the Department) completed its evaluation of the Greenwich Hospital Redevelopment (SSD-8699) in September.
The matter was referred to the Commission because more than 50 unique public objections were received by the Department, as well as an objection from Lane Cove Council.
Commissioners Peter Duncan AM (Panel chair) and Adrian Pilton were appointed to determine the application.
The Commissioners met with the Department, HammondCare and Lane Cove Council to discuss the proposed redevelopment and conducted an inspection of the site and surrounding area.
They also hosted an electronic public meeting on 15 October 2020 to listen to the community’s concerns.
The Commission granted concept approval to the hospital redevelopment, subject to conditions.
The approval does not permit the carrying out of any works until further detailed consent is granted.
“The views of the community were expressed through public submissions and presentations to the Commission at the public meeting. The Commission carefully considered all these views as part of making its decision,” the Commission noted in its Statement of Reasons for Decision.
The Commission considered the key issues relevant to the concept proposal, including site suitability, seniors living suitability, building envelopes and urban design, amenity impacts, transport, traffic and access, heritage and biodiversity impacts.
The Commission agreed with the Department’s findings … that the proposed integrated hospital and seniors living development is strategically justified and is in the public interest, and that the identified impacts can be appropriately managed through the conditions of consent imposed, and through the subsequent detailed application.
The conditions of consent imposed by the Commission, amongst other things, limit maximum building heights on the site; address concerns around the bulk and scale of the redevelopment; require the replacement of 86 trees earmarked for removal; and restrict occupancy of the seniors accommodation to seniors, people with a disability, people from their household, as well as the staff of the facility.
The Commission also stated that there must be a quantitative assessment and mitigation of noise impacts during construction and operational noise impacts.
There must also be a road safety evaluation of all access points, pedestrian and vehicle movements along River Road and St Vincents Road. A Traffic Impact Assessment must be undertaken of traffic and transport during construction and operation.
HammondCare must lodge a Development Application with the Lane Cove Council, the Development Application must address matters raised in the consent conditions. The Development Application will be assessed the same way other applications are assessed by the Lane Cove Council including public comment.
Greenwich Hospital has operated from the River Road site since 1966. The hospital is run by Hammond Care and provides rehabilitation, palliative and supportive care, mental health care for older people, pain management, and other vital support services. Hammond Care proposes to redevelop Greenwich Hospital. Hammond Care wants the Greenwich redevelopment to be similar to the campus development at their Miranda facility.
Hammond Care has stated:
Greenwich Hospital has provided essential sub-acute health services, including rehabilitation, palliative care and older persons’ mental health support for many years. The hospital maintains strong connections with NSW Health through the Local Health District and Royal North Shore Hospital. While the standard of care is widely recognised as excellent, the building fabric of the hospital has now reached the end of its useful life. Refurbishment has been undertaken on several areas in the past but this is no longer suitable for best practice service delivery. The redeveloped campus will provide a wider range of services to inpatients and outpatients. It will also bring together key elements of Hammond Care’s core services on the one site with access to support close by. It is proposed to stage the development works to ensure that ongoing hospital activities are not interrupted. It is intended to continue the use of Pallister House for administration purposes. No demolition, alterations or additions are proposed for Pallister House.
The Concept Plans
The application and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was publicly exhibited between 14 February 2019 and 5 April 2019.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment received a total of 198 submissions, comprising nine from public authorities (including an objection from Lane Cove Council), 177 individual public submissions (including 161 objections) and ten submissions from special interest groups (including eight objections).
The critical issues raised in the submissions included: site suitability for the seniors living component; bulk and scale; building heights; overdevelopment restricts future ability to expand hospital services; impact on the character of the locality and streetscape; heritage impacts; tree loss; biodiversity impacts; increase in traffic and associated impacts; parking impacts; view impacts; overshadowing; privacy impacts on neighbours; and impact on bushland
The Original Environmental Impact Statement submitted with the proposal provides for:
- Hospital expansion to the existing 50 place hospital care facility with inpatient/outpatient support services;
- 80 Seniors Living units (apartments) associated with Hospital style campus;
- 9 Seniors Living units (villas);
- Retention of Pallister House;
- On-site parking.
Hammond submitted a Response to Submissions (RtS), including an amended proposal, on 15 October 2019, which incorporated the following key amendments to the concept proposal:
• reduced scale of development, including deletion of seniors living villas. Redevelopment of Greenwich Hospital (SSD-8699) | Assessment Report vi
• increased health care facilities, including a new respite care facility.
• greater setbacks and transitions in height of building envelopes along the boundaries of the site.
• increased tree retention and landscaping.
• reconfiguration of the layout to protect the heritage curtilage of Pallister House.
• revised staging to deliver redeveloped hospital in the first stage.
The RtS was publicly exhibited between 24 October 2019 and 18 December 2019.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment received a total of 136 submissions, comprising nine from public authorities (including an objection from Lane Cove Council), 119 individual public submissions (including 109 objections) and eight submissions from special interest groups (including six objections).
The key issues raised in the RtS submissions remained the same as those raised during exhibition of the EIS, with significant concerns raised regarding: traffic; scale of the development; seniors living use; impact on character of the area; view impacts; impact on school safety; amenity impacts; tree removal; and fewer concerns in relation to heritage impacts.
A further RtS was submitted on 23 June 2020, addressing the key issues raised in the submissions. No changes were made to the proposal in response to matters raised in submissions and by the Department. Hammond submitted further information in July and August 2020, addressing concerns raised by the Department regarding inconsistencies with envelope heights and setbacks, and potential design modifications.
Lane Cove Council’s Objections
Council raised the following objections:
• the seniors living component, which is not permitted within the zone under the LCLEP 2009 and would restrict future expansion of the health services facilities. Lane Cove Council acknowledged the need for seniors living facilities but considered the subject site inappropriate for this use. The removal of the seniors living component would also allow a more sensitive design of the hospital building to minimise the height and bulk.
• the respite clinic given the loss of trees and impact on St Vincents Road frontage.
Greenwich Community Association’s Objections
The GCA submitted several grounds for objection including:
“The proposed development of apartments/villas for seniors housing should be refused because the site is incompatible with such use and fails to meet the standards for seniors’ housing in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004.” You can view their objections here.
Support from Health Organisations
Dementia Australia, the Sydney North Health Network and the Palliative Aged Care Network all supported the proposal. You can read their comments here.
Department of Planning and Environment Assessment Report
The Department concluded:
The proposal would be in the public interest. The proposal would benefit the community as it would provide significantly improved health facilities, including specialised care for the ageing population.
In addition, it would provide additional seniors housing that is integrated with the hospital and reduce hospitalisation rates by facilitating care at home. The concept proposal would result in direct investment in the area of $141.5 million and support 174 operation jobs when fully developed.
Overall, it is considered that the proposal would have acceptable environmental impacts, subject to recommended conditions of consent.
You can read their full assessment report here.
5 Other Aged/Care Senior Living DA’s
A DA for aged care and/or seniors living have been lodged for the following sites:
Retire Australia Seniors Living 40A Cope Street Lane Cove West; Note we have requested an update on this development from both the developer and NSW Planning and have not received any information.
The old Billy Blue site on the corner of Greenwich Road and River Road Greenwich – The DA has been approved for a (DA103/2019); and
An eight-storey seniors housing development pursuant to SEPP Seniors comprising 40 independent living units with three basement levels accommodating 76 car spaces and loading zone. A new Seniors Living Apartment Complex (40 apartments) is planned for 2 Greenwich Road. The site was a former private hospital. The hospital closed in 2018 and has relocated to a new facility at 2 Frederick Street, St Leonards. More Details here.
Our cover photo is an illustrative perspective of the development along River Road from the east (Source: RtS)
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