Lumby Hampson

Hornsby Shire Council has come under fire for rejecting a new “Health Hub” at Round Corner Dural which would meet “the needs of a growing and ageing population”.

Healing ONR proposed the development of a two storey 4,100m health services facility described as bringing “a strong mix of muchneeded hospital grade services into the heart of this thriving community”.

The concept included 19 specialist consulting rooms, a 16-room medical centre, pathology collection area, medical imaging centre, day surgery with four operating rooms, 20 recovery bays and 15 short stay beds, as well as two basement carparking levels and an ambulance bay.

However, Hornsby Shire Councillors unanimously voted against the development at the 13 July Council meeting, citing a slew of inconsistencies, including the proposed land being incompatible with the rural zone setting and impacts to traffic in the area.

COUNCIL’S REJECTION WAS DUE TO:

  • Inconsistency with the Greater Sydney Regional Plan and the North District Plan.
  • Inconsistency with Section 9.1 Ministerial Directions.
  • Inconsistency with the Hornsby Local Strategic Planning Statement.
  • Inconsistency with the Hornsby Employment Lands Study.
  • Inconsistency with the Rural Lands Study. The proposed land use is incompatible with the rural zone setting.
  • There are potential amenity impacts with the built form on adjoining properties. There are potential traffic impacts on the surrounding road network.

Healing ONR said it was now requesting an Additional Permitted Use (APU) via a planning proposal request. This would allow them to “obtain a development application approval for the development of the Dural Health Hub facility within the current RU2 Rural Landscape and SP2 Infrastructure zoning, rather than asking for the site to be rezoned to a noncomparable business use”.

Healing ONR said “this very specific use provision” means they would not set a “planning precedence and there is minimal risk of the proposal opening the floodgates for other, less harmonious types of development”.

Liminal Property Solutions Director Andrew Bell, representing Healing ONR, said Council “did not consider the continued need for quality health services from residents and the challenges faced by many”.

“Public transport to the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital from Dural and surrounding suburbs can be a long and challenging journey with multiple bus connections required and over an hour of travel time,” Mr Bell said.

“Ageing residents in the Dural community should not be forced to travel as far as 80 minutes with multiple bus connections to access hospital grade health services at Hornsby Ku-ring- gai Hospital, when this proposal can put such a facility right here, and in a way that will be respectful of the local Round Corner Town Centre character,” Mr Bell said.

He said they had been working with Council for more than two years and had received the backing of local community, businesses and adjoining landowners.

“This decision would be more understandable if there was significant community pushback, but the fact is there has been almost unanimous support. What alternative plans does Council have for meeting this existing and rising demand for accessible health services for our ageing population in Dural?” Mr Bell said.

Hornsby Councillor Warren Waddell said that although adjoining and nearby businesses, including Thompson Health, had their DAs approved under rural zoning, this Health Hub “did not seek to occupy the entire remaining infill area, so it would be a requirement to rezone the entire strip in order to avoid another ad hoc development”.

Councillor Waddell also said the design was not “sympathetic” to the site, and there needed to be “less bulk and scale and increased connectivity to the surrounding amenity”.

However, Councillor Waddell said he would support the rezoning of the adjacent Round Corner Village precinct to ensure a “proper marriage of the existing developments and those proposed”.

“I suspect the planning team and the Councillors would support a medical facility with a design more in keeping with the setting and that demonstrates more connectivity with the surrounding amenity,” Clr Waddell said.

“The Hills side of the road (which essentially contains the Round Corner Village) has made provision for further expansion and would encourage this development to be built there,” he added.