No go for $4.6m 'bland' medical centre in Katoomba

Bland design: Artist's impression of the proposed medical centre with Yeaman Bridge in the background.
Bland design: Artist's impression of the proposed medical centre with Yeaman Bridge in the background.

Plans for a $4.6m medical centre at the entrance to Katoomba have been knocked back because the building is too "bland" for such a prominent position.

The DA for the empty land between Hotel Gearin and Yeaman Bridge envisaged a medical centre with 13 GP consulting rooms and three visiting specialist rooms plus a pathology clinic, pharmacy and offices and parking.

The site for much of the 20th century housed the Goldsmith Bros Sawmill. The main building burnt down after the sawmill was closed down and the only evidence remaining is the concrete slab.

The site is within the Katoomba "town approach precinct", under the local environment plan, which aims to promote the "highest design quality".

New medical centre: Plans knocked back.

New medical centre: Plans knocked back.

Council officers recommended the DA be approved but a local planning panel last month unanimously rejected it.

While the panel recognised the need for and importance of a medical centre, it found the design of the building wasn't appropriate for the prominent location at the entrance to town.

The building didn't promote the "highest design quality" nor reflect the core principles in relation to the critical nature of the site.

"It seeks to justify this approach by proposing an overall bland design aimed at being perceived as inconsequential. The design appears to seek the building to be overlooked as a part of the Katoomba town centre."

The site as it is now.

The site as it is now.

The result was a "mass, form, character and use of materials that is not responsive to the immediate area or the wider values of the ... town centre".