After six months of uncertainty, councillors have given approval for the Noble brothers to develop the land adjacent to their shops in Fern Street, Gerringong, and the adjoining block of public reserve which they lease from Council.
The approval comes after months of lobbying by the South Precinct to ensure the original intent of the Charette for Blueberry Hill was respected. They contend it envisaged an open piazza area which the Nobles could have exclusive use of during operating hours, but would revert back to open land after hours.
The glass balustrades included in the original plans have now been disallowed on the leased land, although they will continue to be a feature of the development on the Nobles’ land.
It is also a condition of the approval that the roof structure not be installed any further west than the Fern St verandah line of the $1.5 million development.
While there are still grey areas as to how the conditions of approval will be implemented, and their preferred position was for there to be no roof structure over any of the leased land, Howard Jones of the South Precinct says that “It is as good as we are going to get.” He’s happy that their agitating has kept alive the issue of retaining public access to the land the Nobles are leasing.
Without the balustrading, Council will need to develop and implement landscaping plans for the remaining public reserve so that it forms a seamless connection with the new development.
Some sort of terracing will be needed to be incorporated to overcome the height difference in the blocks.
“We have asked to be part of the on-going discussion about how the boundary should be developed,” says Howard Jones.
Once started, building works are expected to take six months to complete.