Good news – Lourdes planning proposal rejected

Levande’s amendments to redevelop their Lourdes Retirement Village at 95-97 Stanhope Road, Killara has been REJECTED by the NSW Department of Planning, following the Sydney North Planning Panel (SNPP) decision in December 2023.

FOKE received this news from the Minister’s delegate on 3 July, 2024.

FOKE strongly objected to the Levande proposals.

FOKE worked closely with Lourdes resident Frank Brady and his daughter, Katy Brady, to ensure the planning proposal in such a high bushfire was rejected.  

FOKE also assisted Katy Brady in applying for a GIPA application to get further information from the Rural Fire Service (RFS) (that they had refused to provide) and then lodged an application for an internal review of the decision made by the RFS under the GIPA Act papers with the Information Privacy Commissioner.

FOKE expresses its thanks to Ku-ring-gai Council and their officers for their outstanding expert reports in opposing the Levande proposal.

Please find below:

– the NSW Government’s Plan finalisation report – PP-2022-658 report for Lourdes Retirement Village

– FOKE’s two presentations to the Sydney North Planning Panel (15  December 2023)

– further comments on the future for Lourdes

It is a relief that the NSW Department of Planning accepted the Sydney Metropolitan North Planning advice to reject the retirement village owners Levande’s proposal because of high bushfire risk.

If it had been approved, it would have set a dangerous precedent for retirement villages to be built in bushfire areas across NSW.

However, Levande still have the legal right to develop the site. Levande can resubmit a new planning proposal but this will need to start from the beginning – i.e. Levande will need to submit a new proposal to Ku-ring-gai Council and it will need to go through a comprehensive consultation process. If the planning proposal is successful and the LEP is amended, Levande will then need to submit a development application in order to undertake the redevelopment.

The NSW Department of Planning has recommended that Levande work collaboratively with Ku-ring-gai Council to come up with a proposal that does a better job of addressing bushfire risks and protecting lives, as well as managing ecological impacts.

In terms of the future development of the site, Levande has two options: 

  1. to develop a new planning proposal to amend the Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plan (as envisaged by the Department) and then submit a subsequent development application 

  2. to submit a development application now (using the design controls regarding height and floor space ratio that are in the current LEP).

Under Option 2, any construction is at least two years away. It would take Levande time to develop a new development proposal that complies with existing design controls. They would then need to go through a consultation process before Ku-ring-gai Council might approve the development application and then they need to obtain a construction certificate before construction could commence.

Option 1 may even take even longer before any works could commence. Levande would need to get the LEP amended and then submit a new development application. Planning proposals can take a long time.

The NSW’s Planning’s report refers to the potential to submit a “state significant development application” (page 32). FOKE is unsure of this process, however, expects that this would speed up the application. However, even under this approach, any construction would be a long way off.

It is now important for Levande to develop a timetable, in discussion with relevant consent authorities and the community.

Levande needs to give residents assurances of what they intend to do with the site. Residents need clarity so as to enable them to make more informed decisions. 

FOKE hopes that the residents of Lourdes can have peace of mind and security of tenure living at Lourdes Retirement Village.