City of Newcastle has backed a plan that could allow for the future expansion of Lingard Private Hospital, including changes to lift the Merewether hospital's building height limit to 18 metres.
The council unanimously passed a motion on Tuesday night endorsing a planning proposal from the hospital's owners, Healthe Care, to rezone the site from R3 Medium Density Residential and B5 Business Development to SP2 Infrastructure (Health Service Facilities).
The planning proposal, which will now be submitted to the state government to go through a determination process that will include community consultation, also proposes increasing the maximum building height from 10 to 18 metres and removing a floor-space ratio control.
A report prepared as part of the application says the changes "will enable the continued use and expansion of the hospital" and "better reflects the existing use of the land and secures its future use for health-related employment and activities".
It comes after Healthe Care had expansions plans refused in late 2018 because the proposed building exceeded the height limit by six metres.
The hospital owner also recently lodged two development applications for works at the hospital, including a $4.4 million expansion of the "Kingsland Precinct" and a $1.2 million pedestrian bridge linking the two buildings on either side of Merewether Street.
The Kingsland Precinct project will add an extra level to the building opposite Townson Oval and include 15 consulting suites.
The projects form part of Healthe Care's plan to invest $85 million on the hospital site over 10 to 15 years.
Healthe Care has also proposed entering into a voluntary planning agreement with the council in conjunction with the development applications, and any future DAs.
This could include accessible pedestrian paths between the hospital and the nearby Townson Oval, and making the hospital car park available for users of the sportsground on weekends.
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