City News

Court refuses development plans to turn Darlinghurst Victorian terraces into a hotel

Developer Practec proposed demolition of much of the rear or eastern half of the terraces, including the rear wings, as well as removal of a number of existing trees. Photo: Supplied.

By EVA BAXTER

Six Victorian terraces in Hardie Street, Darlinghurst will not be turned into a hotel in a decision by the Land and Environment Court (LEC) on Friday, August 6.

The site is located within the Oxford Street (Darlinghurst Road) and Victoria Street Heritage Conservation Area.

Development consent was not granted because the commissioner was not of the opinion that the proposal exhibited design excellence.

The commissioner found that the proposal would have a most serious effect on the seventh terrace in the row, in which resides Louise Butler.

Butler told City Hub Practec made her repeated offers to buy the seventh terrace, and after being knocked back they sent a final offer stating they would go ahead.

Butler was “devastated” when she saw the DA that outlined a five storey, 69 room hotel, “that would completely dwarf my home, and it would mean years and years of development.”

Practec proposed demolition of much of the rear or eastern half of the terraces, including the rear wings, as well as removal of a number of existing trees.

Various works to the front façade would be undertaken including new cast iron lacework and door detailing.

Operationally, there would be a maximum of 131 guests, with reception open between 7AM and 10PM.

Terrace tussle

The residents of Hardie Street organised an opposition with a petition that has over 2000 signatures, and City of Sydney Council received over 200 written submissions, most in opposition of the development.

The development was described as a dense visual bulk inconsistent with the scale and form of surrounding buildings and as having an unreasonable overbearing impact on Butler’s residence.

The commissioner said the loss of morning sun during winter and other periods to a good portion of the courtyard, sunlight to the living room and the visual massing or sense of enclosure of the proposal in the courtyard was “severe” to “devastating.”

“I would go from having a beautiful sunny backyard with views of the trees and the sky and birds in the trees in the backyards of those six properties to living in 100% darkness, no sun at all, 365 days a year,” said Butler.

She said she wasn’t confident in the court case, but “it went the way it should, and I’m really thrilled that it did.”

She said it would have changed the character of the street, “it becomes what they introduce.”

“This was just a wrecking ball, both metaphorically and physically,” said Butler.

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