In Redevelopment by Clyde Mooney

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After considerable resistance, ALH will soon begin construction on its $45 million redevelopment of the Parkway Hotel, having cleared final hurdles.

Back in 2015 the majority Woolworths-owned Australian Leisure & Hospitality (ALH) submitted plans for a massive re-working of the Hotel site in Frenchs Forest, just 600 metres from the massive new Northern Beaches Hospital.

The proposed development would include a six-storey 100-room hotel/motel, replacing the existing 11-room motel, with a gym, spa rooms, landscaped lawn and 164 car spaces.

There would also be a big new Dan Murphy’s set on 1400+sqm, with another 70+ car spaces, operating 9am to 10pm every day.

The Parkway Tavern itself, which ALH has owned and operated for over a decade, would be demolished, with a new structure on a slightly larger footprint built in its place.

But in 2016, Northern Beaches Council recommended the plan be turned down. The ultimate decision was in the hands of Sydney North Planning Panel (SNPP), which agreed with Council but recommended the matter would be best resolved in the Land & Environment Court.

There were local objections to the proposal, centred around potential noise and traffic issues during construction and from the long-trading bottleshop, but ultimately the Panel’s decision was based in conclusion the extensive additions were beyond the scope of the site’s primary use.

Built 1960, the former Antler Hotel, later the Cobb & Co Hotel before its current moniker of the Parkway, was designated a pub. Its 11 motel rooms and drive-through were never formally authorised, meaning under planning laws they were “ancillary” to the business. SNPP saw the Dan Murphy’s and new hotel as beyond ‘ancillary’.

Taking their argument to L&E, ALH argued the development was an expansion of two existing uses, and last November L&E agreed.

“The Court was satisfied that the premises benefitted from existing use rights and the development was approved on this basis.”

The pub group then determined to make some changes to the original $41 million proposal, including removal of the drive-through and construction of a mezzanine level within Dan Murphy’s. The pub’s gaming room will be also converted to ‘alfresco’ and the children’s play area reduced from the original plan.

These changes were approved last week by SNPP, and work is expected to begin in coming months.

The project is slated for two stages, first the retail and alterations to the Tavern, followed by the hotel/motel accommodation at the rear.

“It has always been our plan to revamp the current tired offer to a more contemporary one that will appeal to the local community,” said a spokesperson for ALH.

“We have worked closely with the local council over a long period on the proposed development and are excited that our plans are nearing fruition.”