Star Casino says it will push on with plans to build a $530 million tower on Sydney’s waterfront despite it having been rejected by planning authorities.

In a decision that has pitted the anti-development groups against tourism proponents, Star’s concept, labelled “completely inappropriate” by one City of Sydney councillor, was rejected by the NSW Planning Department as inconsistent with the existing and future character of inner-city Pyrmont.

The 66-storey building is on the other side of the Sydney Harbour from Crown’s half-complete Barangaroo skyscraper, and was pitched as part of Star’s plan to attract wealthy Chinese tourists.

Analysts suggest the development was also a critical part of Star’s future plans to lure tourists away from Crown’s controversial luxury casino and hotel, due to be complete in 2021. It is understood Star still hopes the development will get over the line — despite the independent NSW Planning Panel, which has the final decision, usually taking Department advice.

In a statement, a Star spokesperson said it would “continue to seek approval. We believe it will have a significant benefit for tourism, the city and for the state of NSW,” the spokesperson said.

In its report released on Thursday night, the Planning Department said the proposal would have adverse impacts on views from residential properties and cause overshadowing in winter.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes backed his department’s recommendation. Mr Stokes said the proposal was four times as high as development controls in the area allowed so it should not have come as a surprise to The Star that the proposal was knocked back.

The Treasurer, Dominic Perrotet said he would like to see it go ahead and he was concerned by a lack of discussion to “iron out” the issues between The Star and the department. We can’t also have a ‘nimby’ mentality that ensures that hotels like this one which will make a real difference to tourism in our city and state and our country don’t go ahead,” he told 2GB on Friday.

“You would think common sense would prevail and that you would get a development that works and at the same time delivers the world-class hotel that backs-in tourism opportunities for our city and state.”


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