26 room boarding house proposed for Forster Street, Parkes

PROPOSAL: Clockwise from top, architectural design, 3D image of materials and finishers and the Forster Street block. Photos: PARKES SHIRE COUNCIL.
PROPOSAL: Clockwise from top, architectural design, 3D image of materials and finishers and the Forster Street block. Photos: PARKES SHIRE COUNCIL.

THE BIG Development Applications (DA) to be approved at the Parkes Shire Council's July meeting continue, with a boarding house to be constructed at 11 Forster Street Parkes.

The DA proposed the construction of a 26 room boarding house that would feature a communal living room, outdoor space, manager's residence and 14 bay car park.

It was unanimously approved by all councillors, but not before a number of concerns were raised and addressed from the submissions process.

Five submissions were received in total about the development and its locale, which is near the intersection of Forster and Currajong Street and diagonally behind the drive-through bottle shop at the Grand Hotel.

Those submissions raised several different concerns:

  • Insufficient car parking and impact on Forster Street
  • Proposal is not consistent with the character of the area
  • Overshadowing impacts
  • Overlooking existing housing
  • Impacts stemming from affordable housing
  • Loss of property value

The principle concern surrounded the parking - despite the allotted bays being in line with State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) requirements - with one submission flagging the condition of Forster Street.

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"The proposed development includes 26 rooms, which can each facilitate two people. The development only provides 14 car parking spaces which will lead to significant on-street car parking. Forster Street is in poor condition and is not suitable for on-street car parking," the submission read.

Brendan Hayes, the Parkes Shire Council's director of planning and environment, said the council had carefully considered the impact, but believed they had sufficiently addressed any pertinent issues.

"During notification, there was a number of matters raised about shadowing, overlooking, loss of property and occupation of the building itself," he said at last Tuesday's meeting.

"During the assessment process the council officers have taken all the submissions into account...and we believe that the applicants provided sufficient information for approval."

Cr Louise O'Leary acknowledged that the DA complied, but echoed some of the concerns of those who had submit their concerns.

"I know the parking has ticked all the boxes but I still foresee an issue; 14 doesn't seem enough," she said.

"A lot of assumptions have gone into this project, some are ill-founded and I think there are others that have a bit of merit, but the parking is the biggest issue for me," said Cr O'Leary.

Mr Hayes was strong in his belief that this project would be of huge benefit to the community however, and endorsed its approval.

"Parkes is under a lot of accommodation pressure, and this project will align itself more with serviced apartments than a social housing facility, and we do believe that any overflow parking can be accommodated," Mr Hayes said.

The other major concern for the project was its impact on the character of the area; despite the council's assertion that the project wasn't for social housing.

As one submission put it: "The proposal will impact on the character of the area which includes family homes. A 26 bedroom boarding house is not in character for the area and will impact on the value of our properties."

The report's assessment was clear in its response to that concern: "It is assessed it cannot be determined that the proposed development...will adversely impact on the value of adjoining allotments to warrant refusal of the application."

The construction and subsequent accommodation of the proposal will no doubt cause plenty of debate; but given the housing shortage and number of building jobs generated, will be welcomed by many.

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