Lingard Private Hospital to perform surgery on rejected $13m development proposal

UNDER REVIEW: Artwork depicting the Lingard Private Hospital’s unsuccessful proposal for day surgery and consulting suites at 6-8 Lingard Street, Merewether. The Joint Regional Planning Panel rejected it earlier this month. A MAJOR upgrade of Lingard Private Hospital at Merewether has been rejected by the Joint Regional Planning Panel over concerns about its height and floor space.
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The hospital on Friday told the Newcastle Herald it will lodge a revised plan for the site after carefully considering December’s verdict fromthe panel’s December 2 meeting.

That verdict noted the panel’s support forthe “use and overall suitability” of the 2613-square-metresite, but said those elementshad to be separated from the specific form of the proposal.

If approved the plan would have become a three-storey facility including four operating theatres, 17 consultation rooms, medical gas storage anda 42-space car park.

It would also have modified an already-approved car park with 129 spaces.

“While we respect council’s decision, our growing population and demand for private health services make this a much needed addition to the medical precinct,” Lingard Private chief executive Warwick Crosby said.

“In just four years alone, the number of Newcastle residents with private health insurance has grown 6per cent.”

“We look forward to ongoing discussions with Council, to refine our proposed plans as needed. Weplan to submit a complying development application next month.”

Mr Crosby confirmed the proposed 129 car spaces would not be reduced in the new plans.

The panel foundground-level -parking would magnify the bulk and scale of the project at 6 and 8 Lingard Street, which would have stood across Merewether Street from the main existing hospital complex.

The panel found the ground-floor parking would have creating a less-than-ideal interface with the street itself.

“Submissions received in response to public notification of the development application have raised issues of a nature and extent that establish the proposed development will have unreasonable impacts in terms of character, height, bulk, scale and parking,” the panel’s reasons for refusal state.

“The development, as proposed, is considered to not be in the public interest.”

The JRPP decision was unanimous.

The panel said any future efforts to expand the hospital “should rationally involve a wider perspective of the area and precinct, so the coordinated growth of medical uses in the area and …could be considered holistically”.

The $13.1 million proposal was lodged in December last year.

Four submissions were made during its public exhibition period.

Newcastle City Council planners had also recommended refusal, contending the proposal was not in the public interest due to its height and floor space.

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