Sunday, August 01, 2010

seville supermarket still up for consideration

report from the roundtable – 27 jul

At this week's meeting councillors had to consider if they wanted the controversial Seville Supermarket application and planning scheme amendment referred to a planning panel.

The officers report had recommended that council proceed to a panel and base its submission to the Panel indicating 'general support for the proposal'.

I could not support the recommendation. In speaking against the motion I raised the following concerns.

Firstly, it defies logic to rezone this residential land to a business zoning. This land is so closely located to the township it is far more important to see it preserved as residential land. We know from strategic work completed that it is important to continue to have residential land available close to townships.

I continue to be concerned about the economic impacts of such a development. If built this supermarket development would be the largest supermarket in the entire Shire. I am concerned that the spend at this site will be substituting spend at another location, so although it might be good for local employment, the loss of trade in other areas will flow on to a loss of employment there.

We know that traffic is already an issue in Seville, putting a development this size in a town that currently supports a population of around 2000 people, will only exacerbate the traffic problems in the town.

I have grave concerns for the amenity of the town, Seville is a small town, encouraging a development like this will have serious consequences to the quality of life currently enjoyed by residents in this lovely rural yarra valley town.

The amenity of locals living on Britton Road will be challenged with them facing a 2.4mt high fence. I noted that a landscaping buffer is planned for the road reserve on Britton Road and I called into question why council would be supplying public land for a vegetation buffer, the applicant should be putting all buffers on their own land, yet another indication that this development is oversized and there is too much on this site.

The shire's Municipal Strategic Statement (our key strategic document to detail land use and development objectives for our municipality) is clear in its intent for Seville – "identifies Seville as a Rural Township...essentially a dormitory residential area with a small commercial centre".

It is an overdevelopment of the site and an overdevelopment of the town, why would the largest supermarket in the shire be in Seville? It defies logic. Should the supermarket go ahead I have grave concerns for the long term impacts to Seville. The increased retail space will see pressure put on the urban growth boundary to expand and could irreparably change the town.

I didn't think we should wait to hear the outcomes of a panel hearing. Councillors are the elected representatives, it is our role to provide leadership and deliver the strategic outcomes for the people of the shire. There is a clear strategic statement for Seville, it is up to councillors to maintain the integrity of our planning policies.

I felt that councillors should abandon the planning scheme amendment and fulfil our responsibilities as elected representatives to uphold the strategic direction of Yarra Ranges. With that I foreshadowed an alternate motion to abandon the planning scheme amendment should the motion fail.

The motion was put to the vote, I called a division to ensure there was a public record of the vote.

For: Crs Warren, Higgins, Templer, Avery and Cox
Against: Crs Dunn, McRae, Heenan and Cliff

Once the panel has heard the matter it will come back to council for a final decision. I encourage residents of the region to be involved in the panel hearing process, it's your town, it's your lifestyle that will be impacted.

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