City News

DA Dilemma in Potts Point

The Ikon apartments, home to the apartments with the affected views. Photo: Andrew Woodhouse

The Land and Environment Court has approved a controversial Development Application (DA) in Potts Point, overturning Council’s original decision not to allow it. The court has given developers the green light to add two storeys to an exisiting apartment at 40 Macleay Street.
The development will impact the harbour views of at least three apartments in the opposite apartment block, and concerns over the fire safety of the building have also been brought into question.
Rebecca Wright lives near the proposed development and although her views will not be affected by it, she said the development was unfair and developer driven. Ms Wright also said that those whose views were affected would lose money from the value of their house and should be reimbursed by the developers.
“You pay substantially for a view… I’m really surprised when people say ‘well you don’t buy the view’ because you do,” she said.
“It might not be in the contract but you certainly pay for it.”
In the final judgment, the Commissioner said the loss of views was acceptable as it satisfied “the objective of the height development standard in LEP 2012… to promote the sharing of views”.
Alexandra King is a resident in the affected Ikon apartment block, and although her apartment will not be affected by the development, she condemned the Land and Environment Court’s decision as “grossly unfair and very disappointing”.
The Court found that the resident objectors should have had a reasonable expectation of an addition to the site, “given the previous and now lapsed consents for additions to 40 Macleay Street dating back to 1997”.
Ms King said this assertion was ridiculous.
“There may have been DA approval in 1998 and 2002, but the most recent DA for 40 Macleay Street was in 2005 and that DA was rejected by Council,” she said.
The proposed development is also the subject of concerns regarding its fire safety measures.
Potts Point is one of the most densely populated suburbs in Australia, and the lack of sprinklers in the new development has prompted comparisons between the Potts Point building and the Bankstown building at the centre of the 2012 fires which resulted in the loss of life.
Ms King said this is an issue not only for residents of the building but also neighbouring buildings, including the heritage listed ‘Manar’.
“The omission of sprinklers from a building, which will be 35 metres high once completed, is particularly alarming,” she said.
“At 35 metres, this new development will significantly exceed the 25 metre effective height mark that, according to the BCA, requires apartment buildings to have sprinklers installed.”
As a condition in approving the development, the Court ensured a certain amount of fire safety requirements were going to be fulfilled.
These include a fire safety certificate to be submitted prior to an occupation certificate being issued and that adequate measures “be provided to protect persons using the building and to facilitate their egress from the building in the case of a fire”.

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