The former Belmont Sporties club could be redeveloped into an aged care facility if a developer's pitch to allow seniors housing on the site wins approval.
Lake Macquarie council voted on Tuesday night to support a planning proposal from site owner Belmont 88 Pty Ltd which seeks to extend an adjoining lot's existing approval for seniors housing to cover the club as well.
The adjoining lot, which is mainly the former club's bowling greens, was approved for seniors housing in 2013 after Belmont Sporties sought a subdivision with the intention of maintaining the club building lot only.
The lot is owned by Arcare Pty Ltd - an aged care provider in NSW, Queensland and Victoria - and has DA approval for 42 independent seniors living units.
MORE COUNCIL NEWS
The planning proposal also requests lifting the maximum building height of both lots from 8.5 to 10 metres, which would be consistent with the medium-density zoning of the nearby areas.
That would allow for three-storey development on both lots and documentation provided with the planning proposal suggests the site could house a 90-bed aged care facility and 120 to 130 independent living units.
It is not clear if Belmont 88 Pty Ltd and Arcare Pty Ltd plan to create an incorporated development or pursue separate projects. Neither company could be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Belmont Sporties went into voluntary administration in 2018 with club building and car park lot sold shortly after. The building has been leased by the current owner to small businesses and community groups since.
The sale of the Belmont Sporties site ultimately resulted in the loss of access from Glover Street to the club's car park, which was previously used by users of the adjacent sports fields.
The Newcastle Heraldreported councillors' and community groups' concerns about losing access to the car park last August.
Sports clubs questioned why the council didn't come to an agreement with the owner to maintain access to the car park.
The council said at that time it had knocked back an offer to lease the car park, about 78 spaces, saying it did not reflect its "priorities" for the site and its Belmont Sports Fields Master Plan redevelopment "would provide new parking areas".
The council is still seeking state or federal funding to implement the plan, which it unveiled in late 2016.
Should the planning proposal be approved and the owner ultimately pursue a seniors development on the site, the club car park and access from Glover Street for sports field users would likely be permanently lost.
Cr Adam Shultz moved an alternate motion at Tuesday's meeting requesting councillors conduct a site inspection during the planning proposal's exhibition to assess potential access issues. It was passed unanimously.
Cr Shultz said it was important council liaise with sporting groups and ensure "if a proposal like this is going to go forward, there is adequate access in and out via Glover Street, otherwise Maude Street would be incredibly busy when sporting events are taking place".
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS: