Boutique hotel in Leura refused on planning grounds

A 36-bed tourist hotel at the lower end of Leura Mall has been rejected by a local planning panel, which found it is out of character with the area's heritage, is too big and bulky and doesn't comply with the floor space ratio.

Historic Culgoa: Plans for a boutique hotel behind the Leura Mall house have been refused by a planning panel.

Historic Culgoa: Plans for a boutique hotel behind the Leura Mall house have been refused by a planning panel.

Sydney-based company Kingsford Property Development had submitted a DA for a $6 million boutique hotel behind an historic house, Culgoa, next to the fire station on the Mall.

But council officers who evaluated the DA found the modern/contemporary design was "inconsistent with the scale, bulk and architectural character of existing historic houses and cottages in the area".

They found the plans exceeded the floor space development standard by 75 per cent and the applicant had not applied to council to vary the standard.

And at 19 metres long and 35 metres wide, it didn't comply with planning rules which stipulate buildings are not to exceed 18 metres width or depth in any direction.

Council received 11 submissions opposing the hotel, raising traffic and parking issues, architectural character complaints, and concerns about over-development and tree removal.

The Blue Mountains branch of the National Trust had also disputed claims in the DA that, because the hotel would be located behind the existing house, trees and landscaping, it would therefore not be visible from the mall.

Council officers agreed.

They said the "physical reality" was that "the majority of the existing established trees and screen planting will be removed...; the frontage of Culgoa is approximately 14m wide, however the width of the new building is approximately 35m wide ... and the frontage of 198-204 Leura Mall is 42m wide... It is clear that Culgoa will not conceal the new development when viewed from Leura Mall."

The planning panel on Monday night accepted the concerns and refused consent.