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Byron Shire
July 20, 2024

Overdevelopment say neighbours of Kingscliff Uniting seniors housing development

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Artists impression of the development application put in by Uniting Care.

Neighbours of the aged care facility in Kingscliff run by Uniting say that while they are supportive of further development of the site, the current development application (DA) is a significant overdevelopment and that Uniting have ‘definitely not listened to the community’s concerns’.

The DA is only proposing an increase of eight beds for the residential aged care places (to 120 places) at the site while the rest of the proposed 199, two to three bedroom, retirement and independent living apartments will be sold. 

At more than twice the height of the surrounding residential buildings, that are a one and two storeys, existing neighbours will have around 100 windows looking into their bedrooms,  living areas, and back yards with significant overshadowing of their roofs, yards, and living and bedroom spaces. 

‘To be clear we are not against the development of the site. The community in fact promotes housing that respects the community in a responsible manner,’ said Matt Sands, a represnentative of local residents who have come together under the banner DUC4K (Does Uniting Care 4 Kingscliff) told The Echo

‘There is only an increase of eight beds in care. The remainder of the project is just development.’

Th undeveloped area of the Uniting Care site. During floods this area fills with flood water. Photo Aslan Shand

Uniting responded to community

Uniting has submitted a $233M seniors independent living village in Kingscliff DA as a State Significant Development Application (SSDA) to the NSW state government that, even with community feedback considered, still exceeds the allowable height limits according to neighbours. 

Uniting have said that they have responded to communitiy concerns and from their original proposal have increased setbacks from neighbour boundaries, heightened privacy through thoughtful landscaping, reduced number of buildings from eight to seven, have moved residential aged care home away from neighbour boundaries, and relocated the swimming pool.

However, DUC4K says that the developer Uniting has not listend to community concerns. The Uniting site is surrounded by residential homes of one to two storeys and DUC4K say Uniting have put no genuine effort into responding to the community concerns or to deal with overshadowing and impacts on the local community from invasion of privacy to traffic. 

Proposed privacy plantings over basement will further shadow neighbours yards and living spaces.

‘They had proposed five storeys originally and they never could have got that through because it is significantly above the allowed height limits allowed. The pool was not an issue for the two properties that it was adjacent to. They have said they will do plantings for privacy screening but this just further exacerbates the already significant issues around overshadowing that exist from the proposed building heights,’ said Mr Sands. 

DUC4K have said the developer has been unclear around starting ground levels for their building heights and are still exceeding the height limits as set out in the Kingscliff Locality Plan (KLP). 

‘There is only one building that exceeds the height limit in Kingscliff and that is a lift shaft in the middle of a large building,’ said DUC4K. 

‘The KLP has a height limit of 13.6m from the natural and existing surfaces and Uniting have included buildings to a maximum height of 16.75m above ground level. Uniting need to respect our height limits because they were set for a reason. Further, they compare these heights in an R2 zone to those in the Beachfront development on Marine Parade that is zoned R3 Medium Density which is a misrepresentation of the surrounding neighbourhood and the built environment.

‘This is big and completely out of character with the surrounding homes and Kingscliff generally and in particular this neighbourhood of low rise buildings.’

There is currently a restricted entrance to the existing Uniting aged care facility. Uniting has bought two houses on the opposite side of the site to knock down and build a larger access to the site. Photo Aslan Shand

Single road entry

Access to the Untiing site is via a narrow road that is currently the only legal access to the site. Uniting has bought four dwellings on Lorien Way that they propose to knock down an create a new access route into the site for building the development and future access. Locals are saying that Uniting has underestimated the traffic impacts on local roads and have not supplied enough parking. 

‘Parking in the surrounding streets is already at capacity. As with any small regional 

town, public transport options are very limited, making car ownership essential to access any services  beyond the immediate Kingscliff village,’ said Peter Newton, President of Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association (KRPA) 

‘Our community rejects the notion put forward at briefing sessions that owners of the independent living units “probably won’t have cars”. The increase in  parking spaces from the current facility to the proposed development does not appear to be close to  what will be required to keep carparking off the surrounding streets.’

Flood prone site

Residents have also highlighted the flood prone nature of the site and questioned how that will impact the surrounding neighbourhood that already get flooded streets during heavy rains. 

‘The neighbourhood has the floodwater coming down into the are from surrounding hillsides and and the stormwater running away from the beach and they merge and push against one another and this already creates flooding in the streets,’ explained one local.

‘Additional fill will be added to raise the site by more than three metres in some places which will further exacerbate flood issues across many areas of north Kingscliff and beyond.’

Currently the solution is to have excess runoff culminating on Gales Holdings Pty Ltd land (an area that saw extensive flooding in 2022) but is also slated for development so there is the question of what the future impacts of the floods will be on the existing housing.  

The dwellings circled in red are the existing dwellings that will be dwarfed by if the proposed Uniting Care development is approved.

‘The overwhelming feedback from members was that, even with the changes that have been made to the original draft proposal, the size (including height) and scale/density of the proposed Uniting Kingscliff development is still an overdevelopment for this particular site and not in keeping with the surrounding low density residential environment,’ said Mr Newton.

Discrimination to access 

Mr Sands said that a large number of the surrounding residents are elderly and the process of commenting on the DA has proved challenging and in some cases beyond the capacity of their tech skills. 

‘We’ve had several elderly neighbours come around highly stressed because the process of access the state government planning portal. It has so many hurdles to get over just to try and get a comment in. It means that so many people are unable to access the only way that we have been told we can leave comment and submissions.’

Yamba a guide? 

Mr Newton has suggested that the lower scale development similar to the Uniting Yamba aged care facility would be more appropriate for the site rather than the current proposed overdevelopment. 

‘This type of lower scale development with a mix of single storey villas and a limited  number of apartment buildings seems a much better fit and would be a great deal more compatible than the overdevelopment being proposed in the revised masterplan for Kingscliff,’ he said. 

‘It is noted that while the Yamba project included four storey buildings, but the Yamba site has the advantage of fronting roads (as opposed to the Kingscliff site which does not have this advantage and is completely surrounded by existing single and double storey residences). This is a critical difference between the Yamba and Kingscliff sites, hence community concern about the inclusion of four storey buildings in the Uniting  Kingscliff development, particularly if this is taken from an above ground level starting point. 

‘While members appreciate the ongoing engagement with Uniting on this project (including individual meetings with residents), rightly or wrongly a feeling is starting to emerge that these engagements are merely a box ticking exercise rather than a genuine approach to work with the community to achieve suitable outcomes and/or compromise,’ he said. 

Another local resident told The Echo that, ‘This gross overdevelopment represents another defining moment in maintaining the character, fabric, amenity and liveability of Kingscliff as we know and love it. While there is a great opportunity to redevelop this site to meet the needs of our ageing population, the proposed development, in its current form, will not meet this need. This is no more than a luxury apartment development under the guise of aged care and seniors housing.’

Your say

If you are interested in commenting on the DA you can submit your comments to: https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/uniting-kingscliff-redevelopment

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  1. Developments of this size need to be developed on greenfield sites such as Kings Forest or Cobaki Lakes and integrated into the overall master plan for the estate to have suffient road and transport infrastructure and meet community needs.
    The current proposal is all about greed and the developer maximising profits with no real consideration for the impacts on local residents and the community.
    If people who live in the area wanted to be surrounded by such development we would live on the Gold Coast.
    Most people chose to live here for the village feel and lifestyle. The Tweed is alrwady a mess with sub-standard town planning and poorly designed road and public transport network. Lets start acting smarter and build it on a greenfield site to benefit the entire community.

  2. This development is not for age care residents: only 8 beds , total 120! Rest is profit making sold to “retires”! So this development is armoury making ” investment by United . Kingscliff has a 13m high limit . Nothing higher should be allowed , definitely not near one or 2 level homes .

  3. I’ve just googled uniting developments up. Wow, they sure have form in smashing into existing communities to get what they want. Not under the cover of darkness, but in broad daylight under the cover of ‘aged care’. So bad.

  4. This is appalling, Uniting seems to be nothing more than yet another profiteering developer ruining the quality of life and ambiance of Kingscliff.

    Sad to see this high density multistorey ugliness trying to advance into Kingscliff. Putting an ugly hospital with insufficient parking into valuable farming land was bad enough.

  5. This is insanity! concrete over natural sacred ground should be outlawed.

    We need a retirement living area that is based on indigenous land management.

    Live off the land in eco-huts, vegan lifestyle, and watch disease go away forever.

  6. If uniting could learn anything from the Feros Village fiasco, its that this can be more damaging to your brand than you initially imagined..


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