Chatswood residents reject seniors’ luxury living


A concept design of seniors' living units proposed for 99 Beaconsfield Road, Chatswood.

A group of Chatswood residents are opposing a proposal for seven, self-contained seniors’ living dwellings near Chatswood Golf Club, calling the development ‘extremely incongruent’ with the local area.

The $5 million development would see the demolition of two houses on the corner of Beaconsfield Road and Greville Street, Chatswood, and the construction of six townhouses and a villa, each with four bedrooms.

Each dwelling would also include one or two covered parking spaces, with most featuring lift access, a laundry, balcony, study and/or an outdoor terrace.

The development is seeking approval under the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) Housing for Seniors or People with Disabilities, however locals say there are several non-compliance issues.

At its November meeting, Willoughby City Council received a petition from 165 residents claiming the build breaches the SEPP’s floor space ratio, height, and setback controls.

In his submission to Council, lead petitioner Eugene Foo says the three-storeys proposed for two of the townhouses, the close rear setback and the bulk of the build will impact on locals’ views and privacy.

“The development proposal is extremely incongruent with the existing character of the neighbourhood,” he writes.

“While I am cognisant that change at some point is unavoidable, I have never had the misfortune to witness a development proposal so misaligned with the current low-density eco-friendly landscape.”

Residents also pointed to a proposal for a similar development of 102 seniors’ units down the road at the golf course to question the need for the large-scale build.

The proposal has also attracted opposition from local environmental group the Willoughby Environmental Protection Association (WEPA) over plans to remove 35 mature trees.

According to WEPA, ten of the trees are listed on Council’s Natural Heritage Register and form part of a wildlife corridor connecting Ferndale Bush Reserve, Coolaroo Bush Reserve, and the golf course.

“[These are] outstanding native trees, which are admired by locals and visitors alike for their beauty and contribution to the shared streetscape,” the group writes.

“Proposed developments can always be redesigned and resubmitted within a few months – trees and habitat and the biodiversity dependent on them, once removed, can take decades to regenerate or fail to return at all.”

The proposal is currently being assessed by Council’s development officer.

Stephanie Aikins

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