Manly's Royal Far West will start work on a new $35 million centre to replace the Elsie Hill building in Wentworth St in February next year.
The move into the 21st-century is thanks to a $10 million Federal Government grant which added to an existing $10 million grant from the State Government, means the children’s health care organisation can expand its reach way beyond the 3000 children it currently supports each year.
Key to the expansion will be a new Centre for Child Health and Learning that will function as a purpose-built technology hub.
The new $35 million centre will be built on the site of the existing Elsie Hill building in Wentworth St, which will be pulled down. Work on the six-storey building will start in February next year, and is expected to take about 18 months.
What sets Royal Far West apart is the community it serves - country kids who live in regional and remote Australia and don’t have access to health services that we take for granted. That includes treatments for problems such as speech and reading difficulties and behavioural and psychological concerns, as well as more traditional medical care. And while some consultations do need to be hands-on, many can take place remotely.
Royal Far West has been providing ’Telecare for Kids’ for some time, but the new centre will increase its online reach five times - to 15,000 children, and their families, each year.
No announcement has been made yet regarding future plans for the existing site on the corner of Wentworth Street and South Steyne where the charity will continue to operate until the new facility is opened.
With the approval of its Centre for Child Health and Learning recently by the Joint Regional Planning Panel, the Royal Far West (RFW) will shortly launch its Caring for Country Kids Appeal to secure funds for the building, and future service delivery.
The new Centre for Child Health and Learning will be erected on the site of the existing Elsie Hill Building in Wentworth Street, adjacent to RFW’s guest accommodation in the historic Drummond House. No building or reconstruction will take place on RFW’s oceanfront land under this Stage One development.
When completed, the new purpose-built Centre will replace the old Medical Centre on the oceanfront site.
It is understood that the NSW Government provided a $10m grant towards the faciliy, with a proviso that no hotel be built on the waterfront land as part of the Stage Two development.
The proposed hotel was a controversial part of the RWF original plans to redevelop their site, and was strongly opposed by the general community. Since then the RFW has been working closely with the community in an endeavour to create a masterplan for the site, which would be considered more community-based.
Currently the Royal Far West’s clinical programs support 1,500 rural families each year and the dedicated specialist clinical team delivers over 27,000 occasions of service. The new Centre for Child Health and Learning will enable the Royal Far West to reach as many as 15,000 families in the future providing services such as Tele-speech and Tele-mental health using advanced internet services.
It is envisaged that the building of the new Centre will take around 18 months, and will be completed in early 2017.
The Royal Far West children's charity is set for a $35 million redevelopment of part of its Manly campus, with a new proposal for a Centre for Child Health and Learning, on the site of the 'Elsie Hill' building on Wentworth St (next door to the Manly Community Centre).
The organisation urgently needs to expand and modernise its premises to continue helping country kids with their medical and educational needs.
CEO Lindsay Cane said the charity wanted to build something Manly "would be proud of". "We want a state-of-the-art building," Ms Cane said. "Somewhere where people from the bush feel comfortable and safe and where our clinicians can do their job."
The existing red brick building, which has little obvious architectural merit, lies between RFW's Drummond House and the Manly Community Centre.
It will be transformed into a "state-of-the-art" seven storey, six level building, which will house a fully integrated school, purpose-built clinical consultation rooms, open space and play areas. It will link to Drummond House, the RFW's accommodation centre, through its lower stories.
A DA for the building will be submitted in December after public consultation.
RFW Operations Director Kevin Bone said the success of the plan depends on the fund-raising campaign. He said the charity was hoping for contributions from both the state and federal governments, as well as members of the community. If the plan is successful, Mr Bone said the organisation would then focus on its "vision" to develop the rest of the campus as a "hub" for education, learning and well-being. He said engaging with the community and taking community ideas on board was crucial for the success of the redevelopment plan.
Plans to upgrade the total site, which fronts Wentworth St, South Steyne and Victoria Pde, where first launched early last year. But that plan, which involved selling off beachfront land for a new hotel, apartments and shops, met with fierce community opposition. Now the charity has taken community wishes on board and scaled back its redevelopment plans.
Community Information Sessions
Community information sessions will start this week, with the project's architect, town planner and project manager taking part in "open forum" meetings.
Sessions will be held at the RFW Medical Centre, South Steyne, on Wednesday (Nov 5) from 4 to 7pm; Thursday (Nov 6) from 6 to 8pm; Thursday (Nov 13) 10 - 1pm and Friday (Nov 14) from 1 - 4pm. It is not necessary to book.
For more information go to www.rfwredevelopment.org.au or download the Development's details below.
For some 18 months the Department of Education and Communities (DEC) and the Royal Far West (RFW) have been negotiating over a piece of land which the Departments owns, right in the centre of the RFW proposed redevelopment site.
Locals believe this provides an excellent opportunity for a land swap providing much needed extra space for the exploding Manly Village Public School which has expanded to over 600 enrolments this year (on a site which is ideal for 500 students).
However negotiations with the Royal Far West have stalled with the groups failing to come to an agreement on the value of the DEC’s land.
Mr Dean White, Director of Public Schools NSW, has worked closely with the community to try to find a solution to the immediate lack of space crisis facing the primary school with estimated enrolments of up to 700 students expected in 2015, meaning an additional five classrooms will be needed.
While admitting that the land swap with RFW is unlikely to be resolved in the near future, Mr White’s Department has looked at a number of options including changing the boundaries of the catchment area for students; the use of the nearby Community Centre; and placing demountables on the playground or staff car park.
The best immediate solution would seem to be the change in the catchment boundaries, which would protect the future of the Community Centre and the amenity of students at the school. The P&C also shares this view. The Minister is expected to make an announcement over the next two weeks which direction will be taken.
In the meantime the RFW has announced that it proposes to proceed with its $45m Centre of Excellence on the site of the Elsie Hill flats (next door to the Community Centre) while continuing its operations in existing buildings until the new Centre is complete.
Mr White confirmed that the DEC is looking at leasing space in the new Centre and combining staff with the RFW, which would be a world first.
With regards to the future of the land in the centre of the RFW site he said the Department was “in no hurry”. “Our objective remains to find the best solution for both the RFW school and the Manly Village School”, he said.
Mr White added there was no interest in the proposal by the RFW that DEC support an additional storey being approved for the new Centre with the bottom floor being leased for 5-10 years to the Public School next door. This has also been rejected by the P & C and by Manly Council which recently lodged a new local environment plan (LEP) for the site reducing the height limited to below that which was approved on 18 April 2013 by the Planning Assessment Panel (PAC) under the rules of the previous State Government.
The Royal Far West has four years to start on the redevelopment of its site before the current DA expires.
Royal Far West development approved by Planning Assessment Panel with minor conditions. Disgraceful outcome. Is this what the community can expect from NSW Government's new planning process? http://www.pac.nsw.gov.au/Projects/PACDeterminations/tabid/104/ctl/viewreview/mid/459/pac/282/view/readonly/myctl/rev/Default.aspx
Confirmation received this week from Planning Minister Brad Hazzard that Far West site will remain zoned 'special use' rather than 'commercial' as was previously drafted in the new LEP is good news for Manly. While this will not impact on the current development proposal it WILL make a big difference should the Planning Assessment Commission refuse their current application. Decision on current highly-controversial application is expected at the end of April.
Hundreds of people crammed into the Manly Bowling Club yesterday to hear forty speakers against the proposed Royal Far West Development opposite Manly Beach, before the NSW Planning Assessment Commission.
Major concerns were raised about the total lack of consultation, lack of required reports such as a social impact study and relevant traffic studies, major overshadowing of the beach, promenade and school grounds; and the future of the Manly Village Public School and Community Centre nearby.
It is expected a determination will be made by the Commission (PAC) by the end of March.
This Report on ABC Statewide program on 15/2/13 covers the issue well:
Redevelopment Cnr South Steyne & Wentworth Street.
Be Alarmed! The 9 storey hotel building opposite Manly Beach as part of the Royal Far West (RFW) redevelopment has been recommended by Department of Planning (not Manly Council) to go ahead. It will overshadow the beach from 4.45pm in Summer but no-one seems to care. This can't be allowed to happen.
Attend the Public Meeting on Monday 18th February, 3pm at the Manly Bowling Club Raglan Street before the NSW Planning Assessment Commission. This will be your last chance to register your concerns.
(Meeting now changed to 4pm due to public demand)
This site is long overdue for redevelopment but the proposed 9 and 7 storey buildings were what was done in the 1980s when we didn't know any better. Most buildings nearby are heritage, and 2 - 4 storeys only.
You can download a general flyer that outlines the issues in relation to this over-development below:
As more information becomes available on the proposed redevelopment of the Royal Far West site opposite Manly Beach at South Steyne, the local community is becoming alarmed by the bulk and size of the proposed $229m development on this iconic site. A new group called Save Manly Village, has been formed to fight what has become the largest development proposal in Manly for 20 years.
The plans include:
• 9 storey hotel building towering over Manly’s iconic beach
• 8 storey building overshadowing the Manly Village Public School and dominating Rialto Square in Wentworth St.
• Complex of shops, restaurants, apartments and a 165 room hotel
* A new facility for the Royal Far West (which represents less than 30% of the total floor area of the site)
While locals stress they are not against the Royal Far West, nor the wonderful work they do, there is a sense of betrayal. The excessive commercial development plans, which were lodged without any consultation with the community nor Manly Council, are completely out of context for this site which is bounded by South Steyne, Wentworth Street and Victoria Ave.
While there is general agreement that the buildings owned by the Royal Far West are in need of replacement, (except for historic Drummond House which is to be retained), questions are being asked as to why the NSW government has agreed to two parcels of Department of Education land within the site, to be incorporated into the development with no apparent negotiation made to provide additional space for the Manly Village School next door. The school, which is busting at the seams, has grown from 200 pupils to more than 600 students in recent times and this is expected to continue to grow.
The development has been lodged as a Part A Application with the Department of Planning and a decision is expected to be made by the Planning Assessment Commission in February 2013.
In the meantime, locals are being encouraged to lodge their concerns by:
· Writing to Brad Hazzard, Minister for Planning - firstname.lastname@example.org
· Writing to our Local Member, Mike Baird - email@example.com
· Writing to the Manly Daily – firstname.lastname@example.org
· Letting others know how Manly is under threat
· 'Liking' the Save Manly Village Facebook page - www.facebook.com/savemanlyvillage
A public meeting will be called by the Planning Assessment Commission. Date to be advised but expected to be in February 2013.
Student numbers at Manly Village School have more than doubled in recent years and space is urgently needed. So why are tracts of land owned by Dept Education being incorporated into the new Far West development rather than being reclaimed for the school next door?
The controversial redevelopment plan for the Royal Far West site is still on the agenda with a decision from the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) now delayed until February 2013 due to concerns that a late December public meeting (which is part of the process) would not enable all concerned parties to be present.
In the meantime concerns are still being raised by locals including the P & C of the Village School and members of the Manly Community Centre, due to the lack of information which is publicly available on the proposal. For example, what impact, if any, will the high-rise components of the development have on the shadowing of the children's playground in the Village School? What arrangements have been made regarding the parcel of land within the redevelpment site which is owned by the Department of Education? Who is behind the redevelopment proposal as, as a charity, the Royal Far West would be unable to mount such a proposal on their own? And why wasn't there any community consultation on the proposal before it was lodged?
Manly Council has submitted a draft concept plan for the site which calls for a more modest approach to the redevelpment with terraced levels fronting the beach rather than the proposal high rise block.
As a $220m redevelopment on an important, major site in Manly (bounded by Wentworth Avenue, South Steyne & Victoria Avenue) the community has a right to be kept informed. So why so much secrecy?
STOP PRESS ... Rumour has it that the Royal Far West Plans are to be rejected in their current form .....
An Extraordinary meeting of Manly Council was called on 10th October '12 because locals are concerned that their views are not being heard by the children's charity, Royal Far West, who has submitted a Concept Plan to redevelop their site to the Department of Planning & Infrastructure, under the old Part 3A planning rules.
A final report will be prepared for the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) who will be the determining authority. The PAC would then hold a public meeting as part of their assessment of the proposal.
But locals believe that since the process began, almost 12 months ago, it is reasonable to believe that the true repercussions of the proposed redevelopment are only just now being realised by the community.
This is no ordinary site. It is prime real estate that overlooks one of the most famous beaches in the world - Manly Beach.
While Manly Council's Urban Design Guidelines recommend a terraced approached of four to five to six then eight storeys - the Far West proposal, on the beach front, is five storeys then eight storeys. Locals & the Council are saying the proposal is too big, too bulky, too high and way too much for this significant site.
The Charity says it needs to redevelop the site to fund its future and replace old, decaying facilities that no longer meet their needs. But does a charity have the right to expect the community to bear the long-term planning scars that the current plan will create? I don't think so. What do you think?
In November 2011 the Royal Far West Children's Scheme lodged a concept plan application for a massive redevelopment of their site. Locals were outraged (again no community consultation) and substantial and numerous submissions were made to the NSW Department of Planning against the proposed redevelopment.
On the 30/8/12 the Department notified those who had made submissions that changes had been made by the Far West. We have now been asked again to lodge submissions on the revised plans
The revised proposal is an insult to the Manly Community who has tirelessly supported the work of the Royal Far West for decades. The new plans have not addressed the major concerns raised by the community and have totally ignored Manly Council's Urban Design controls for the site.
No-one is fooled by them promoting the new development as a School of Excellence when the majority of the site will be taken up by shops, a hotel and apartments.
Come on Royal Far West. Stop listening to the developers who are advising you and start listening to the community that has supported you.
What's happening with the Far West Children's site? Checking the Department of Planning’s website today, there is still the notice “Proponent Reviewing Submissions”. It is now seven months since the close of submissions. Why is it taking so long?
** PUBLIC MEETING TO BE HELD ON MONDAY 28 November 12 at the Manly Community Centre, Wentworth Street. 6pm - 7.30pm. Come along and express your views.
BREAKING NEWS: 16/11/11
At the Council meeting on 14th November, Councillor Hugh Burns raised the interesting matter that the Far West Plan is proposing to convert existing Department of Education facilities for commercial purposes even though the Manly Village Public School nearby is crying out for more playground area and classrooms. It has been reported that the Village School currently has an extensive waiting list and is squeezed for space for existing students.
Should the Department be part of a scheme to profit from this valuable parcel of land or should the redevelopment proposal be reviewed with the view to adding extended public school facilities which could also be accessed by clients of the Far West?
UPDATE: In response to community concerns, the Department of Planning has extended the deadline for submissions until November 30, 2011
UPDATE: 27/10/11... It is a concern that the community has only just become aware of the importance, impact and various issues, the new development proposal will have on Manly.
Given this, it would be reasonable for The Department of Planning to extend its current November 4 deadline for submissions, particularly as it's not until November 2 that the Far West is having an open day for the community on these proposals.
Stated to be the largest construction project ever seen in Manly, the redevelopment of the Royal Far West site on South Steyne and Wentworth Street, if done right, offers some exciting opportunities for the revitalisation of this important part of Manly's beachfront.
The revised concept includes four buildings of up to nine stories incorporating 22,000 sqm of health, residential and commercial development. The proposal also includes a hotel complex of up to 164 rooms and a further 32 residential units.
(After concerns were raised about more intensive development of the site the Council recently completed a masterplan for the property which allowed for construction of up to six storeys on the beachfront and eight storeys in the middle of the block)
The proposal is the only project remaining on the northern beaches that will be considered under the State Government’s controversial Part 3A planning laws. The Planning Assessment Commission is expected to make the final determination on the plans which are on public exhibition until 4th November both at the Planning Department's information centre, or Manly Council Chambers. Documents can also be viewed under major projects a the Department's Website.
The incorporation of a hotel on the site would seem a good idea and would provide much needed additional quality accommodation in the area for international tourists.
What are you thoughts on the Plan?
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.