City of Melville withdraws support for Woolworths store

The City of Melville has shut the door on Woolworths' application.
The City of Melville has shut the door on Woolworths' application.

THE City of Melville has withdrawn its support for a proposed $23.5 million Woolworths in Mt Pleasant and is now recommending a joint development assessment panel (JDAP) reject the proposal when it meets on Monday.

The backflip comes after a peer review of the retail sustainability assessment, missing from the original application but since supplied, found that while there was sufficient demand for a full supermarket in the area, there were doubts over whether two could be supported.

Accordingly, City of Melville planning officers believe a development of this scale – which includes close to 3500sq m of retail floor space – would be better located in the nearby Canning Bridge or Riseley district centres.

“A development such as this, at the scale proposed, places doubt and confusion in the development and commercial sector over the actual validity of the development potential of the Canning Bridge District Centre,” officers wrote in the Responsible Authority Report.

“In doing so it undermines the planning that has been put in place to ensure the development of Activity Centres within the City in a planning and logical manner.”

The site in question, on the corner of Canning Highway and Reynolds Road, is zoned urban local centre, which the City of Melville defines as designed to provide convenience shopping or services such as a local deli, takeaway food shop or cafe.

The existing Reynolds Road local centre is dedicated mostly to medical services and contains less than 200sq m of floor space – a far cry from the nearly 5000sq m total proposed in the Woolworths development.

A JDAP originally deferred making a decision on the proposal in March, citing concerns about the traffic impacts of the development, a 9m western boundary wall and the lack of a retail sustainability assessment, which is a requirement of State Planning Policy.

Woolworths attempted to have the deferral deemed a refusal and appealed directly to the State Administrative Tribunal for a decision, but after mediation was directed to supply the documents requested by JDAP instead.

If approved, nearby residents fear the development, which will only be accessible via Reynolds Roads, will dramatically increase traffic and noise and drive down property values in the area.