Inside one of the penthouses at the Ramada Hotel in Ballina.
Inside one of the penthouses at the Ramada Hotel in Ballina. Doug Eaton

Penthouse owners hope to move in

OWNERS of the two luxury penthouses at the Ramada Hotel and Suites in Ballina have not given up hope of being allowed to live in their ritzy waterfront units.

Councillors decided at the February meeting to refuse the application for a change of use, which would have allowed permanent residency in the two penthouses.

But the applicants sought a review of the decision.

That review will be reported to the council's meeting on Thursday, with a recommendation for approval of the change of use application.

One of the penthouse owners, John Gosper, said he was "hoping to get it across the line this time".

"We've been doing a lot of work ... this application should be approved," he said.

But it has received objections from a number of organisations and individuals, including Ballina Booking Service, which operates the hotel, and the three restaurants in the building.

Peter Nair, on behalf of Ballina Booking Service, wrote in his objection that the Ramada was an "iconic" hotel on the Northern Rivers.

"It has to be noted that senior executives from major national and international business organisations and celebrities would not utilise the Ramada if penthouse suites were not available and would relocate their patronage to the Tweed Coast region," he wrote.

There are also concerns that allowing the penthouses to be used as permanent homes will set a precedent.

Last year the developers of the Ramada Hotel, Slipway Properties, lost a NSW Land and Environment Court case that would have allowed for 94 of the hotel's 115 units to be used for permanent accommodation.

However council staff say the change of use for the penthouses "will not create a precedent as these units are different to all others and do not lend themselves to holiday letting".

 

RAMADA SAGA

August 2007: Ramada Hotel and Suites opens.

April 2010: Ballina Shire Council rejects change of use application. Slipway Properties lodges an appeal with the Land and Environment Court.

December 2010: Slipway Properties goes into voluntary administration, and then receivership.

January 2011: Court judgment handed down.

February 2012: Council rejects change of use for the penthouses.



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