An architect's impression of the proposed Surf Motel in Yamba.
An architect's impression of the proposed Surf Motel in Yamba. Tim Howard

Motel development change rattles neighbours' cages

NEIGHBOURS of a controversial Yamba motel development are up in arms over a change in plans that removes the building's original selling point to councillors.

A neighbour of the proposed demolition and reconstruction of the Surf Motel in Queen St said the architects DesignKing Company Architects have submitted a plan to remove a small ground floor cafe from the four-storey development.

Rory Gordon, who owns a holiday apartment two doors down from the proposed development, said the developers had submitted a design modification that removed the cafe from the plan, to this month's Clarence Valley Council meetings.

"What they're proposing is too big a variation from the original plan to be a modification,” Mr Gordon said.

"They at least need to submit a new DA, which would need to go on public exhibition.”

The council approved the development at its September 2015 meeting, but several councillors who supported the development had reservations.

The plans did not meet council's development control plan recommendations for setback from the footpath, building height or parking requirements.

It was the prospect of the cafe adding "vibrancy” to the precinct that swayed at least one councillor to change his vote in support of the development.

"Developers swayed council with the promise of a cafe offering a valuable public benefit in the area, but the cafe has now been removed from the plan,” Mr Gordon said.

"What is left is a complex towering over and dwarfing adjoining properties, that will destroy the village atmosphere that has given Yamba its much-loved character for more than a century.”

But architect Jon King, whose Sydney-based company DesignKing designed the boutique hotel, dismissed the claims.

"These are the allegations of neighbours who want to stop the development,” Mr King said.

"From our perspective the object is to build a boutique hotel.

"The cafe was going to be constrained by the entry foyer usage and storage areas so it would probably not be viable.

The owners could see from the number of cafes in the area it was not going to be a viable addition to the area.”

Mr King said the design change allowed more setback from the footpath, which had been one of the council's consideration.

"It's at least a storey taller than the other buildings and its design will stick out compared to the other buildings in the area,” Mr Gordon said.

Clarence Valley Council has confirmed the proposed changes will be discussed at this month's meetings.