A number of public submissions raised strong concerns with the potential view impact of the Modification on public and private views. The Department also requested that a Visual Impact Assessment be undertaken. In response, Richard Lamb and Associates (RLA) were engaged by Frasers to prepare a Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) (Appendix D) which assessed the potential visual impacts of the proposed built form envelopes compared to the approved built form envelopes. The key built form components of the Modification relevant to the assessment include the proposed relocation and height increase of the hotel and the proposed height increases to residential flat buildings within the town centres and around the boat harbour foreshore.
RLA undertook a site visit to observe public and private views and take photographs from key locations. A 3-dimensional (3D) computer model of the approved and proposed conceptual building envelopes was accurately located and merged with the photographs taken from key viewing places, to produce two photomontages for each view. Photomontage views were prepared from the following locations:
- Shallows Drive;
- Cowries Avenue;
- Beakys Reserve, Bass Point;
- Shellharbour Boat Harbour (Cowries Reserve);
- North end of Shellharbour South Beach;
- 27 Raggamuffin Circuit;
- 18 Tasman Drive; and
- 26 Mystics Drive.
The exact location of each view is illustrated in Appendix D. RLA have undertaken a comparative analysis of the visual effects of the Concept Approval and the Modification. It must be noted that the comparative analysis of the visual effects is not an assessment of the effects of the Concept Approval on the existing view. Rather it is an assessment of the difference in view sharing between the Concept Approval and the proposed Modification.
When analysing the private residential views, for thoroughness, RLA also applied the planning principle in the judgement of Roseth SC of the Land and Environment Court in Tenacity Consulting v Warringah  NSWLEC 140 – Principles of view sharing: the impact on neighbours (Tenacity).
Following their analysis of public and private views, RLA concluded that:
- The differences between the Modification and the Concept Approval will primarily be evident in the mid-slope locations in the visual catchment to the west of the site, or distant views from the coast of Bass Point;
- The proposed increased height will not create significant changes to the composition of views, relative to the Concept Approval built form.
- There would be a minor quantitative increase in view loss of the ocean in parts of the views looking east or north-east across the site from existing residential areas that are sufficiently elevated to have views over the site. However, the overall composition of the Concept Approval and Modification views are qualitatively similar.
- The increased height of the hotel, in its amended location further north, does not cause a significant increase in view blocking compared to the Concept Approval and the re-orientation of the envelope causes a decrease in horizontal bulk visible from the residences assessed;
- The increased height in some built forms will add a minor amount of additional height to some forms within the subject site, in particular in the commercial precinct. The additional height leads to less visibility of roof surfaces from some elevated viewing places, but no significant increase in view loss;
- The application of the planning principle in Tenacity to the three private residential views determined that the differences between the views of the Concept Approval envelopes and the conceptual Modification envelopes are minor and not significant.
In summary, it is RLA‟s expert opinion that when considering the Concept Approval and the Modification, the overall views achieved are qualitatively similar; and the proposed envelopes in the Modification appear compatible and consistent with the intended future character for the site established by the Concept Approval.