Council defers consideration of an aged care facility proposal at Highfields Circuit

An aged care facility is proposed at 1 Highfields Circuit. Image: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council report

An aged care facility is proposed at 1 Highfields Circuit. Image: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council report

Consideration of a proposed aged care development is on hold pending a site inspection.

Councillors will visit the site at 1 Highfields Circuit which is earmarked for a 105-bed vertical village aged care facility.

Consideration of the development application was deferred, pending a site inspection, when it went before the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council meeting in September.

Project architect Andrew McGrath said he believed the overarching benefits of the proposal were great for the community.

The proposal includes a stepped one, two and three storey building with basement car parking.

Access would be off Highfields Circuit.

Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann said the parking was a real issue for her.

Cr Justin Levido raised concerns about the scale of the development, the traffic issues and car parking.

“That part of Highfields Circuit is an incredibly dysfunctional area from a traffic point of view,” he said.

A traffic engineer’s report was submitted as part of the application.

Cr Peter Alley said the traffic problem and the parking problem in that area were really quite bad at the moment.

“The hospital has significantly more people wishing to park than there is available parking and that spills into Highfields Circuit,” he said.

The Mid North Coast Local Health District is working on plans for the provision of additional parking at Port Macquarie Base Hospital in the future.

Council’s development and environment director Matt Rogers said the Highfields Circuit medical centres had sufficient parking, but more broadly, this was an area in transition.

He said in his opinion, construction parking had an additional impact.

Palmcare is the company behind the proposal.

Palmcare’s Matt Hafford said the people in residential aged care were generally in the later stages of life.

“With all of the facilities we own and operate, I can count on one hand the number of people who still drive cars,” he said.

He said the parking spaces allowed for visitor car parking, and there were pick up and drop off facilities.

Mr Hafford said they believed the development would be something for now and the future, and be an exceptional example for aged care. 

He said the building’s form, and bulk and scale were not offensive in the streetscape.

A report will come back to the council after the on-site inspection.

The deferral decision was carried 8:1 with mayor Peta Pinson voting against the deferral.

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