Northside developer asked to respond to public submissions

An artist’s impression of the proposed medical precinct

The development process for the $350M Northside Private Hospital and medical precinct planned for West Gosford, has progressed to the next stage, with the NSW Planning Department requesting a response to public submissions on the project from applicant AA Crown Holdings.

The proposed development, a joint project with the Northside Group, is being considered for approval as a State Significant Development and would see two large buildings, ranging from four to 11 storeys on a site between Racecourse Rd and Faunce St West.
Apart from submissions from various government bodies, the application attracted two from organisations, one from Friends of Gosford and one from the Community Environment Network.
The submission from Friends of Gosford asks the department to “judiciously evaluate the proposal” with regard to height limits and floor space ratio (FSR) in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
“Our rationale for making this request is because the limited criteria for varying building height and FSR does not address the local build environment and the public interest,” it says.
“Of particular concern relating to the built environment is the location and scale of the proposed development in such close proximity to large traffic generating activities of Gosford Railway Station, Gosford Hospital, Gosford High School, Henry Kendal High School, Gosford Primary School and Gosford Racecourse.”
The submission says the traffic report lodged with the application has “a significant oversight” in identifying only three key intersections, Central Coast Hwy with Racecourse Rd, Racecourse Rd with Faunce St West, and Faunce St West with Showground Rd.
The intersection of Racecourse Rd with Showground Rd, the Etna St Railway Bridge and the Mann St/Etna St intersection would also feel significant impacts, it says.
“Please note that in our opinion the traffic movement across the Etna St Railway Bridge is a matter of significant public interest,” the submission says.
“Until the consent authority has a full understanding of the implications of traffic movement along the full length of Racecourse Rd and Etna St, we believe the determination of this application should be deferred.”
“Given the size of the proposed development and the fact there is not an efficient and effective public transport network on the Central Coast, we request that the Department of Planning seek an appropriate independent expert to advise on what formula should be applied to calculate the number of car parking spaces to be provided,” it says.
The submission also suggests that if the development were approved, a free shuttle bus service between the development and Gosford Railway Station should be provided.
The second major submission, from the Community Environment Network (CEN), also objects to non-compliance with height and floor space ratio limits.
The CEN also questions that the development exhibits design excellence in improving the quality and amenity of the public domain and protecting and enhancing key vistas and view corridors in Gosford City Centre.
“The proposed hospital building will present two continuous walls along the streets on each side of the site and these will completely block the views of President’s Hill for people travelling along Racecourse Rd,” the submission says.
“It is not appropriate to permit development of massive walls of buildings along a road that forms the urban edge.
“The section of Racecourse Rd between Faunce St and Gosford Hospital has a semi-rural character, with mature trees along the nature strips and around the golf course.
“This character is enhanced by the views of President’s Hill to the south-east and the valley of Narara Creek to the west and north.
“Even without the tower development for inpatients, the proposed hospital podium of 4- 5 storeys will have a height of 23 metres, nearly double the height limit.
“The Concept Masterplan and Urban Design Justification Appendix (Roberts Day) seeks to justify the overdevelopment of the Ausgrid site by proposing that the whole precinct should be redeveloped for medical purposes.
“It proposes that the whole area between the Ausgrid site and Gosford Hospital can be used for health and allied services, medical research and mixed use medical/residential.
“This is an obvious subversion of the NSW Government’s investment in the area for public assets which include the two high schools and the relocation of Gosford Pubic School.”
Once the applicant has submitted a response to submissions received, the development application will proceed to the assessment phase.

NSW Department of Planning website, Apr 6