Pathways Residences, please do not build seniors units on our playfields at Lane Cove

Pathways Residences, please do not build seniors units on our playfields at Lane Cove

image of Pathways Residences, please do not build seniors units on our playfields at Lane Cove

The Lane Cove Council (LCC) and Pathways Residences (PR), propose to build a 7 storey, 90 unit seniors complex on the recreation play fields at 266 Longueville Rd. These playfields with beautiful views of North Sydney skyline, have been enjoyed by the local primary school and neighbourhood for recreation and sporting activities. The proposal is unnecessary, has been rejected by various authorities and is strongly opposed by the public, but has progressed in a highly questionable manner driven by a $32M profit to LCC.

There are 5 other proposals for seniors living on operational land in Lane Cove, well above ...

The Lane Cove Council (LCC) and Pathways Residences (PR), propose to build a 7 storey, 90 unit seniors complex on the recreation play fields at 266 Longueville Rd. These playfields with beautiful views of North Sydney skyline, have been enjoyed by the local primary school and neighbourhood for recreation and sporting activities. The proposal is unnecessary, has been rejected by various authorities and is strongly opposed by the public, but has progressed in a highly questionable manner driven by a $32M profit to LCC.

There are 5 other proposals for seniors living on operational land in Lane Cove, well above the provisioning required for Lane Cove, whereas the LCC Open Space Plan states that there is a scarcity of land to provision playfields for future growth. There is no justification for the Lane Cove council to build units on scarce public recreation land.

The proposal was first rejected by Commissioner Eric Armstrong at the public hearing (Mar 2014) for re-zoning the land. Within a week of the report, 6 Liberal councillors who held a majority at the time, voted to ignore its recommendations, shutdown the public hearing process and proceeded to re-zone the land.

In Nov 2016, Lane Cove Council agrees to a lease with Australian Unity (AU), where payment of $32M is made ONLY on DA approval, where LCC is the assessing authority and Sydney North Planning Panel (SNPP) the consent authority. Australian Unity takes no risk until whatever DA they present is approved; and have an inherent leverage of $32M over LCC to gain approval.

In July 2017 AU lodges a grossly incompatible DA with 50% of the building non-compliant with DCP (ref Gross Overdevelopment option on menu). The proposal was rejected by the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) based on safety and traffic efficiency issues (1/11/ 2017) and then by Rural Fire Services (RFS) due to lack of asset protection zones required for bushfire prone land. These determinations are being ignored.

In May 2020, the Sydney North Planning Panel (SNPP) rejected the Australian Unity DA by issuing a Site Compatibility Certificate (SCC) which imposed a height compatibility clause which deemed the DA incompatible. AU then backs out and does not seek SNPP consent jeopardizing the $32m profits to Lane Cove. It states,

"Effectively, this determination is tantamount to a refusal or a total redesign, potentially rendering the project non-viable.”

Planning integrity had prevailed. The unviable proposal scrapped, protecting the surrounding 46 families and conservation zone.

With $32M in jeopardy, the LCC Executive Manager Environmental Services resigns and is immediately appointed by LCC to the SNPP, the very body that had just rejected the DA. Shortly after Australian Unity reapplies for the SCC with the very same DA. Despite LCC's previous documented concerns of bulk and scale, it states that,

“Council supports the amendment proposal and raises no objection to the issue of an amended SCC, which should include deletion of 1(a), 1(b) and 1c and any other amendments to facilitate the development as proposed." (where 1(a), 1(b) and 1c are the height compatibility clauses).

In an alarming manner, the SNPP revoked their SCC of May 2020 that rejected this very DA, and proceeded to give consent (6/9/2021).

Compatibility is well understood by the SNPP, Planning NSW and LCC, because they specified it in their own SCC (May 2020), SCC assessment report and DCP respectively. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that all 3 parties in full knowledge, colluded to approve an incompatible DA, to enable LCC to profit $32M in a context where the public has no right of Merit appeal on SNPP determinations. In such a context it is paramount that the public have confidence in the integrity of the panel. Furthermore, when there is evidence that suggests compromise, it is held accountable through a public enquiry.

On the 16/5/2022, Australian Unity was 8 months in default and in dispute with LCC for reasons concealed from the public. Council notifies the public that the lease had been assigned to Longueville The Village Pty Ltd (associated with Pathways Residences), a private company registered 6 weeks earlier, and the payment made. A $32m transaction concealed from the public till after the event, with no vendor selection/ tender process, independent due diligence, council resolution or specific delegated authority to the council executive manager to sign.

At every stage of this proposal, the community gave a clear unanimous message opposing the sale of these play fields to build units; with over 1300 formal submissions (refer to “Public Opposition” on menu).

This proposal to house 250 seniors in a 7 storey building on high inclined highly contaminated land which is, rejected by the RMS and RFSs, with devastating impact to the surrounding environment is purely driven by profiteering, and lacks social conscience and due care for its future residents and surrounding families.

Please join us save these play fields for posterity, protect the 46 adjacent families; and call out unjust collusion and corporate / council greed. There is no rationale for building a grossly non-compliant and redundant seniors development on scarce recreation land, with devastating impact to the amenity of the area and the surrounding residents.

There are two separate actions which will be presented to you in sequence

  1. Submission to Chairman of SNPP and Ministers of planning to have the new DA modification go through a full and unfettered DA application process (action shown on this page). 
  2. Sign petition to the Governor NSW, to setup a Public Inquiry into unjust determinations by the SNPP, collusion between the SNPP and LCC to realise a $32M profit, and the concealed assignment of the lease from AU to Pathways Residences. (action 2 will be presented to you on completion of action 1, or you may access it directly by selecting option "Compromised SNPP" from the menu).

P.S. Please refer to Timeline page (from the menu) for more details on the sequence of events.

The SNPP SCC assessment reports and addendum can be accessed at https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/site-compatibility-certificates/application-site-compatibility-certificate-266-longueville-road

The SNPP DA consent documents may be viewed at https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/planning-panel/seniors-housing-development-3 

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Request for new DA to be addressed through full DA assessment process

This action requests for the new DA by Pathways Residences, to be assessed through the full DA approval process because it does not satisfy the "is substantially the same development" test under s4.55(2) (a) for the following reasons.

  • Removal of 80 aged care beds and other supporting facilities.
  • Addition of a new level & configuration all other 7 levels changed
  • Addition of 10 new apartments, from 82 (over 10% increase).
  • Change in built form and increase in balconies overlooking backyards of single dwelling properties.
  • Site Compatibility Certificates (SCC) are non-transferable, and therefore the new applicant's new planning statement should be assessed for site compatibility and use of land, and issued a new SCC prior to being assessed for a DA.

The modification impacts every aspect of the developement, including traffic, accoustic, privacy and the emenity of the area.

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