The Priory

Council is looking to restore The Priory, and add additional amenities to the immediate precinct and broader Riverglade Reserve.

Over the past year, a Plan of Management (POM) has been developed.

This POM sets out how the reserve will be managed and cared for now and into the future.

One key elements of the POM is The Priory and immediate surrounds.

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Council was granted care, control and management of The Priory site from the NSW Department of Lands in 2007. The State Heritage Listed building required significant investment to restore and refurbish it, in order to preserve it for future generations. This initiated a process to determine a viable funding strategy and an adaptive re-use option, which would achieve an optimal outcome in the successful preservation of The Priory.

Council commenced an Expression of Interest (EOI) process in 2012. As part of The Priory Expression of Interest (EOI) submission process, business and financial details were provided to Council under Commercial-in-Confidence.

A rigorous process following Expression of Interest for the Lease of the Priory Probity Plan Guidelines (using an independent probity specialist) was undertaken in selecting a preferred Expression of Interest applicant, and following negotiations with the preferred applicant, the EOI expired with nil result. Council then undertook another EOI in 2015. The reinvigorated EOI process concluded with the preferred applicant wishing to adaptively re-use The Priory as a café & restaurant, and community meeting place for users of Riverglade Reserve and the inclusive playspace under development.

The Department of Primary Industries and Environment has delegated authority through the Local Government Act and the Crown Lands Management Act to transfer care, control and management of Crown reserves to local councils. Care, control and management of The Priory was transferred to Hunter’s Hill Council in 2007.

The Department of Primary Industries and Environment does have oversight of Crown Land categorisation, Native Title, consideration and adoption of Plans of Management and leases and licenses.

The precinct would be activated to include:

  • A restaurant and café, incorporating accessible amenities.
  • Expanded & accessible carparking for all users of the Reserve.
  • An inclusive playspace.
  • Community access and connection to the Reserve.

Through the lease arrangement a number of benefits will be delivered, most importantly the ability to fully restore The Priory at no cost to ratepayers or residents and reopen the beautiful building for the community to enjoy. The benefits include:

  • The Priory will be fully restored at a cost of $4 million.
  • There will be extensive accessibility improvements.
  • Adaptive re-use is consistent with The Priory Conservation Management Plan and draft Riverglade Reserve PoM.
  • The café will be available for users and visitors to Riverglade Reserve.
  • Car parking will be upgraded and available for public use.
  • The entire precinct, including the installation of an inclusive playspace will cater to local residents and visitors.
  • The Priory will be used for community open days, tours of the historic site by the community and local school groups in addition to education-based talks.
  • Heathy cooking classes will be offered to local community groups including our local churches who support local families.
  • It is a walkable destination for most people living in the area.

As part of The Priory Expression of Interest (EOI) submission process, business and financial details were provided to Council under Commercial-in-Confidence.

A rigorous process following Expression of Interest for the Lease of the Priory Probity Plan Guidelines (using an independent probity specialist) was undertaken in selecting a preferred Expression of Interest applicant.

The prospective lessee will pay the complete cost of restoration and refurbishment. It is anticipated that this cost will be approximately $3-5 million – $4 million.

When the development application (DA) comes to Council in 2021 the DA will be exhibited to the community and adjoining properties. Feedback will be sought in relation to amenity impacts. This process will give the community an opportunity to view and comment on the DA. including; the consideration/implementation of traffic and parking calming strategies, hours of operation, noise studies and heritage impacts.

Until the Riverglade Reserve Plan of Management has been adopted by Council and endorsed by Crown Lands the preferred lessee cannot lodge a DA. It’s anticipated that a DA will be lodged in 2021. Council has had preliminary discussions with the preferred lessee via Council’s Conservation Advisory Panel (CAP), who have provided feedback to ensure that conservation principles are included in the restoration and refurbishment.

The development application will be assessed by independent  town planner who will consider the application on amenity issues and matters of environmental impact; such as traffic and parking implications.

During the required notification period of this application, the contact details of the independent town planner assessing the application will be provided and you’ll have the opportunity to make contact with that person and also provide comments on the proposal for the assessment officer to make a recommendation.

Local Planning Panels (LPP) are panels of independent experts that determine development applications on behalf of Council and provide advice on other planning matters including planning proposals.

Members are rotated each hearing. Panel members are not allowed to discuss matters directly with a member of the community. If approached, the community representative  must explain that they are unable to discuss the matter, and ask them to put in a written submission to the council, and to register to speak to the panel at its public meeting. This way the objection is on record and the panel and the community can have the benefit of that person’s views.

If a community representative has been lobbied, the representative must disclose in writing to the panel chair any effort made to lobby you. The chair will then report these disclosures to the Council’s General Manager.

A lease has been negotiated between Hunter’s Hill Council and the prospective lessee. The lease will not come into effect until, and if a DA has been approved.

Leases are considered under Commercial-in-Confidence and are classified as legal docs. Council is therefore not in a position to provide the community with a copy. However, the Heads of Agreement is a public document and was presented to Council for consideration and adoption at Meeting 4408 on 19 September 2016. The lease is non-transferable.

The key terms of the EOI were that the hours of operation be open until 10pm on Sunday – Thursday with staff to vacate premises by 11pm, and open until 11pm Friday – Saturday, with staff to vacate premises by 12am. These hours are subject to final development approval conditions which may vary. The term of the lease is for twenty (20) years.

Parking, traffic and noise considerations will be managed through the DA process.

It is envisaged that the development consent (subject to approval) for the restaurant will provide for a maximum number of patrons. This condition would be monitored as required and staff would respond to any complaints under normal protocols. As would the NSW Police in response and  in accordance with their jurisdiction (ie Late night noise/illegal activities).

  • Preferred lessee to lodge DA. including noise. traffic and parking
    reports.
  • DA to be independently assessed.
  • DA to be forwarded to Heritage NSW for assessment.
  • Determination of the DA.
  • If DA approval is granted, preferred lessee to sign lease agreement.
  • Lessee to undertake works following lodgement of Construction
    Certificate (CC).
  • Restoration and refurbishment works to be completed.
  • Occupation Certificate (OC) to be granted.
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Hunter’s Hill Council

22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9879 9400

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