UPDATE: The Joint Regional Planning Panel has approved Bupa's 76 bed aged care facility, and Manly Council's community centre at the old Seaforth Tafe site.
An information meeting regarding the proposed new use of the Seaforth TAFE site was held at the Balgowlah RSL on 8th April 2014 by BUPA, who has lodged a development application (DA) to revitalise the old building.
The DA is for a 76 bed nursing home facility, specialist healthcare offices. This follows a memorandum of understanding with Manly Council that BUPA will take over use of the majority of the building on a 99 year lease. The building will also include community space to be run by Manly Council.
Following the presentation there was an extensive question and answer session with the audience of approximately sixty local residents and business people.
The following is a summary of the main issues raised:
The Proposed Use of the Site as an Aged Care Facility.
There was some concern expressed regarding the provision of institutional aged care facilities versus home care. The BUPA representatives acknowledged that this is an issue under consideration in the industry, but that there will still be a need for institutional care.
BUPA also considers that the location is ideal for the proposed use.
BUPA is committed to full restoration of the building to a very high standard, including enhancement of the external facades of the existing building, extensive landscaping and use of solar energy.
The Number of On-Site Car Spaces to be Provided.
Varying information was put forward by audience members regarding the number of existing on-site car spaces that were available on the TAFE site, suggesting a range of 30 - 40 spots..
The plans for the BUPA proposal for the redevelopment of the site include removal of some existing on-site parking, and provision of a total of 20 only on-site car spaces. The BUPA representatives advised that this was consistent with industry standards for this type of development, and they were confident that it would be sufficient.
they also advised that during the negotiations with Manly Council prior to the preparation of the plans Council advised that there was a nil requirement for on-site car parking spaces for the proposed community centre.
Audience members expressed concern at the low number of proposed on-site car spaces on the grounds, that overspill of parking associated with the operation of the proposed development will adversely impact on the limited parking available in the Seaforth business and adjoining residential area.
The Location and Design of the Proposed Parking Area, Service Pick-Up & Deliveries, & Garbage Storage.
Adjoining residents on the northern side of the site were concerned that the location and layout of the parking area and service pick-up and deliveries were not in accordance with the DA for alterations to that area that was prepared and approved by Council, after consultation with a local community committee.
BUPA acknowledged the existence of that approval, but said that they had made the decision to put forward its own proposal.
The Role of Manly Council.
Concern was expressed at what was described as the complete lack of information from Council since its original announcements of the proposed use of the site as a ‘hub’ for community activities, and the fact that the BUPA proposal has been developed to the stage that a formal DA has already been lodged, without any prior community consultation.
BUPA advised that it is not able to speak for the Council, but that it was their understanding that Council had found that it was unable to fund the very extensive work needed to restore the premises to the necessary standards.
BUPA indicated that it is open to consideration of changes to the plans for its proposal if there is strong community feelings on any particular aspect, and that any such concerns should be raised by means of submissions to Council during the forthcoming period that the DA plans will be on exhibition.
You can view BUPA's development application on Manly Council's website- reference: DA 54/2014
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.