History

Over seven years ago Pittwater Council rezoned the Foamcrest Avenue car parks to allow a contract to be fulfilled with Woolworths (after the proposal to rezone by Woolworths was disallowed) with Woolworths wanting to build a huge mega supermarket in the village of Newport.. This contract allowed the council to sell two parcels of land which formed app two thirds of the car park in Foamcrest Ave Newport. The remaining one third (the central section) of the car park is owned by Woolworths together with the arcade that links the car parks to Barrenjoey Road. The rezoning activity of council and its contract to sell the car parks to Woolworths was strongly criticized by the Newport Community and a campaign against selling public land lasted many years. The final outcome was that following the council rezoning the land on behalf of Woolworths, which would have allowed Woolworths to lodge a Development Application (DA), the design of any car park would have to be built underground in line with the Newport Masterplan.

As at June 2016 Woolworths have never lodged a DA and in an effort to understand the status of the contract the NRA formally asked Pittwater Council (now the Northern Beaches Council) and received the following reply (click here). The answer indicates that a new negotiation would have to happen as the condition of lodging a DA had not occurred so the contract was incomplete.

Possible Other uses for the Woolworths site

During the fight against Woolworths building a mega supermarket a number of architects and designers put a lot of effort into developing alternate plans which may have still allowed for a smaller supermarket but made better use of the public land comprising the car parks (including an allowance for enhanced parking).

Boutique Hotel

One of the plans for the arcade and car park land was to build a boutique hotel on the site. To this end one of the NRA members, Peter Middleton,  has put a lot of effort into developing a proposal headed ‘NEWPORT and its FUTURE as a SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AREA’ and we give an extract of this below and attach a copy of this proposal here (click here to read the proposal).

“The ideal extension to Newport village is something which complements – rather than overpowers – the currently evolving retail offering. Valuable bonuses would be the further enhancement of what is on offer, while assisting to attract a controllable increase in visitation to the area.

The Concept

A Newport addition which addresses all these aspects would be a small, five star, boutique hotel. Not an institution which would compete with the Newport Arms (or The Newport, as its new owner has now announced for its future era). But an initiative which complements both the historical and the anticipated facilities of a revitalised The Newport.

For those who are familiar with the boutique hotel which for decades was The Sebel (Townhouse) at Elizabeth Bay, this would be a good model for what is envisaged for Newport village – not architecturally, because The Sebel was a c10-storey building on a narrow steep site, but conceptually, in the atmosphere and facilities which it offered to the international, interstate and intrastate clientele which it attracted.

As with The Sebel, this boutique hotel would incorporate:

  • Less than 100 guest rooms and suites;
  • A mid-to-up-market restaurant of c100 covers, overlooking or opening onto a public piazza;
  • No public bars but a cocktail bar, open to inhouse guests and those eating at the restaurant;
  • Conference rooms, suited to small to medium business seminars & meetings and sit-down banquets/receptions for up to c100 persons.

Additionally, the development would include:

  • A shopping arcade, likely to attract even more upmarket boutique retailers than those already in the current village mix and hence enhancing the overall range and attractiveness of Newport’s retail;
  • Membership of an international hotel group, such as Small Luxury Hotels of the World, both to ensure the grade and the style of its service and to put it on the international map in attracting clientele.

It could be the decisive step which heads Pittwater towards the more environmentally conscious direction of the Noosa style, rather than the destructive evolution of the Gold Coast style.”