LAKE Macquarie City Council has proposed to increase building heights on more sites in Warners Bay town centre, despite strong community opposition.
More land in the lakeside village would be allowed five and six-storey buildings, under a new council plan.
This includes allowing five storeys along the town’s main street – The Esplanade – whereas now only three to four storeys is permitted.
A council survey found 21per cent of respondents wanted buildings higher than four storeys on The Esplanade, 35per cent were happy with four levels and 44per cent wanted less height.
‘‘While the community expressed a desire to avoid additional height on The Esplanade, redevelopment of these sites has the greatest capacity to transform the centre,’’ a council report said.
The survey found 60 per cent of people support building heights in Warners Bay town centre of four storeys or less.
However, the council report said taller buildings were planned ‘‘on larger sites to improve economic viability, achieve higher quality buildings and public-domain improvements’’.
The report said buildings would be ‘‘lower than the treed ridgeline to the north-east, when viewed from the lake’’.
Lake Macquarie mayor Jodie Harrison said ‘‘we need to plan for increased population’’.
‘‘It’s better to plan for that in town centres than have urban sprawl,’’ Cr Harrison said. She said the key issues in the town were car parking and having a vibrant town with a village feel.
Councillor Wendy Harrison said ‘‘we need to provide leadership and support [council] staff’’ on the plans.
‘‘We do need to go up,’’ Cr Harrison said, referring to heights.
For a few years, the council has been planning six storeys on a site it part owns – the town’s main car park in John Street – behind the shops on The Esplanade.
This six-storey plan previously attracted strong opposition from residents and businesses.
The council survey confirmed this, finding 42per cent of people wanted fewer than four storeys on this site, 32per cent supported only four storeys and 26per cent wanted higher buildings.
Regardless, the council is sticking with a six-storey plan on this land. The survey involved 304 people at a workshop and online, as well as Warners Bay High students.
The new plans would allow six storeys along most of King Street and on the Coles supermarket site and its car park.
Two years ago, the Warners Bay Village shopping centre – which includes the Coles supermarket – accused the council of proposing to alter development controls that would advantage it and disadvantage others.
The council plan on the John Street site had originally included a Woolworths supermarket, but councillor Barry Johnston said it had been removed from the proposal.
He said a Woolworths could be built on another council site nearby.
Councillors voted yesterday to call for public comment for 42 days on the new plans.