Spudshed free to open at former Masters site in Joondalup

Spudshed owner Tony Galati.
Spudshed owner Tony Galati.

SPUDSHED will be rolling into the former Masters site in Joondalup after it was approved at a special council meeting on Tuesday night.

The proposal for the fresh produce and wholesale store, to operate 24-7 in Injune Way, was scheduled to go before Joondalup Council last week but was withdrawn from the agenda.

It was due to be considered as an ‘unlisted use’ under the City’s Local Planning Scheme because it did not fit in with the uses of ‘shop’ or ‘bulky goods showroom’.

However, the City received correspondence from lawyers acting for Lendlease, which owns Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City, challenging the land use and suggesting it should be considered a ‘shop’, which would not be considered appropriate for the site, and why the proposal was not advertised.

The City then sought its own legal advice, which clarified it was more appropriate to consider the proposal as both a ‘shop’ and ‘warehouse/storage’. This meant it was no longer considered an ‘unlisted use’ and therefore was no longer required to come before the council, with the decision resting with City officers.

However, the special meeting document said given the “exceptional circumstance”, the item was being presented back to the council “as it is considered orderly and proper governance… given its original inclusion on the council agenda”, where it was recommended for approval.

Representing Spudshed owner Tony Galati, Planning Solutions director Ben Doyle said they were “disappointed” to hear of Lendlease’s objection.

He said a retail assessment had found the introduction of Spudshed to Joondalup would have a maximum impact of 1.6 per cent on any centre in the surrounding 15km radius, which included Lakeside Joondalup, with a Heathridge IGA potentially affected by 1.6 per cent and the Edgewater IGA by a maximum of 1.4 per cent.

At the meeting, the manager of PETstock and owner of Caffissimo, which are also near the former Masters site, spoke in favour of Spudshed moving in. They said since Masters left more than two years ago, their businesses had suffered.

For PETstock, they have had to change their opening and closing times because of a decline in customers and struggling to meet financial targets.

“We are a destination store – people come to us for specific items so having Spudshed would improve the foot traffic where we are and could massively increase our turnover,” the manager said.

Mayor Albert Jacob said he strongly supported the proposal, acknowledging the area would “evolve in response to consumer appetite”.

He said he had seen many local retail businesses struggling and commended the amount of employment it would bring to the area.

He also said while he never would have foreseen a Spudshed at the site, it was a good location “1 to 2km from the CBD but not in the heart of it and that’s what we want”.

He also added that retail competition was not a valid planning consideration and in any case, it was “very, very minor”.

Cr Nige Jones said it was a “no brainer” with the former Masters site a “ghost town for over two years”.

However, Cr Russell Poliwka moved to defer a decision on the application, saying it was being “rushed”.

He said the issues raised by Lendlease were valid and though it was not required, the City should have advertised it for “good governance”.

He also said it would “significantly dilute the city centre which we are struggling to liven”.

“On one hand we’re saying we want a vibrant CBD and on the other hand we’re saying let’s spread the love,” he said.

He said while he supported the WA-owned business, a Spudshed was not what should be expected for the site and the Wangara store was only nine minutes away.

His motion to defer was lost and the application was approved 7-3, with Crs Poliwka, Kerry Hollywood and Russ Fishwick opposed.