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'Overbearing' Glenelg foreshore development rejected

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South Australia’s key planning body has rejected a controversial proposal to build a 13-storey apartment development along the Glenelg South Esplanade, citing concerns over “excessive massing” and lack of heritage conservation.

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Adelaide developers Chasecrown in February lodged an application to redevelop the Glenelg foreshore with a $165 million, 93-unit residential development at 21-25 South Esplanade.

The proposal attracted opposition from the Holdfast Bay City Council, residents and the State Government Architect due to the building’s height and size, which required the destruction of seven buildings including a 139-year-old local heritage-listed former seafront mansion.

After a mammoth sitting on Wednesday night, the State Commission Assessment Panel ruled it was “not satisfied that the proposal sufficiently accords with the relevant Objectives and Principles of Development Control of the City of Holdfast Bay Development Plan”.

“The proposal presents excessive massing, is insufficiently modulated and does not adequately acknowledge and respect the existing context,” the SCAP ruled.

“It has not been adequately demonstrated that the Local Heritage Place cannot be conserved in accordance with General Section – Heritage Places Objective 1 and Objective 2.”

The 13-storey proposal was located in a five-storey zone, although the council’s development plan allows for additional height if the development is “immediately adjacent” to the 12-storey precinct located above, provided the proposed building achieves a “transition in scale” down to five-storeys.

But the SCAP found the proposal “[did] not achieve” the required transition in scale for development plan consent to be granted.

The rejection comes despite State Government Development Assessment Manager Jason Cattonar last week recommending the project be approved.

Save our Seawall Apartments campaigner Karen DeCean, who presented before the SCAP on Wednesday, said her group was “delighted” with the ruling.

“After four months of solid campaigning, it appears SCAP has listened to the people and taken recognition of their policy documents in heritage and planning policy,” she said.

“We couldn’t be happier … to have the heritage recognised as well – it’s just sensational.”

Chasecrown said it will “consider its options” after the SCAP ruling, describing the decision as “particularly disappointing” given the report from the State Government recommending the plan be granted development consent.

“Development approval of the project would have unlocked a significant investment by Chasecrown in the public realm around the building to benefit residents and the local community,” the Adelaide-based developer said in a statement.

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