Nursing home plans a wellness centre for historic Willow Court

I had heard whispers quite a while ago, but I was not able to mention anything. I didn't think Corumbene were successful in getting the oval site, but Im glad they did.

Whats your thoughts?

DAMIAN BESTER, Mercury May 20, 2019 6:45pm

A $4.5 MILLION redevelopment of two derelict buildings on the Willow Court site at New Norfolk has been proposed by a local aged care provider.

The Derwent Valley Council has today advertised Corumbene Care’s development application for the conversion of the former Derwent and Esperance hospital wards into a wellness centre with shops, offices and a medical centre, along with future plans for a child care centre and residential dwellings.

alt The buildings are the site of an incomplete residential project that was approved by the council in 2012 but did not progress beyond the stripping of the buildings in readiness for refitting.

A third building on the site was destroyed by fire in the years since the $11m project of property developer Tony Ellis stalled.

alt Documents lodged with the council by Philp Lighton Architects on behalf of Corumbene Care say the development site is on five properties on the eastern side of The Avenue, New Norfolk.

The site has a combined area of just over 15,000 square metres and has two remaining two-storey brick buildings that operated as wards of the former Royal Derwent Hospital/Willow Court Centre from 1937 until 2000.

Corumbene Care has operated a nursing home at New Norfolk for more than 50 years and proposes to establish an administrative office in the Derwent and Esperance buildings, as well as a medical centre and premises for a shop, cafe and a community service centre.

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The proposal is to repair and adaptively reuse the two heritage-listed buildings, which each have about 1000m of floorspace.

The development site is adjacent to the town’s Woolworths supermarket which was built in 2015 on the old hospital recreation ground. It is also close to the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery which opened in another former hospital ward in the vicinity in 2017.

The development application for a rum distillery proposed for a building adjacent to the Agrarian Kitchen will return to council at a special meeting after the lack of a quorum prevented a decision being made on it at last week’s meeting.

Derwent Valley Council general manager Greg Winton said it was anticipated that a report on the Corumbene Care proposal would go to the next monthly council meeting on June 20, and late next week was the likely timing for the special meeting on the distillery.

Describing the development as a health and wellbeing centre, Philp Lighton Architects say the proposal will benefit the community.

“The site has had a number of failed development opportunities which has seen the site fall into disrepair,” the company says in its application to the council.

“It is evident the buildings currently pose a public risk and require securing to avoid further dilapidation.

“The proposed adaptive reuse of the site would see the restoration of the two remaining buildings, providing passive surveillance and improving the neighbourhood through [providing] the community with services and housing.”

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