MORE than 100 people attended an emergency meeting last night to protest against “Applecross’s best kept secret” – a proposed 5000sq m commercial redevelopment on the site of the Reynolds Road Medical Centre.
A 3500sq m Woolworths will anchor the building, which also includes a pharmacy, speciality retail and office space and two underground levels with parking for up to 236 cars.
Town planning consultant Ben Doyle, traffic consultant Heidi Herget and lawyer Martin Flint all addressed the crowd, many of whom live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed development and claim the City of Melville failed to notify them of the plans.
Canning Bridge IGA owner Greg Brindle, who admits he has a significant financial interest in the proposal, said he was approached to organise the meeting after the development application became known earlier this month.
Mr Brindle said residents had valid concerns about detrimental affects to their property values as the result of a likely dramatic increase in traffic and noise.
“It is also clear the City of Melville has not informed residents or given them an opportunity to comment which is why Thursday’s meeting was important,” he said.
Mr Doyle said the proposed development, which was lodged directly to a development assessment panel (DAP) and will not be voted on by Melville councillors, was largely compliant with the applicable C-4 local centre zoning.
However, inadequate setbacks would force a DAP to exercise discretion in approving the proposal and Mr Doyle said a Woolworths supermarket did not fit the original vision for local centres.
“This is a case of needing to look at the forest and not the trees,” he said.
“WA Planning policy suggests a maximum of 1500sq m of retail in local centres and this kind of proposal is clearly not what was foreseen.
“It undermines the planning of the nearby Canning Bridge and Riseley precincts, which would be better locations for a supermarket.”
Ms Herget laid out serious traffic concerns for the development, which sits immediately opposite Canning Highway from a new McDonald’s restaurant approved on appeal by the State Administrative Tribunal in December last year.
She said no Transport Impact Assessment had been made available with the development application and that Reynolds Road to the north of Canning Highway was already operating near its 3000 vehicle per day capacity.
She said traffic would come close to doubling when McDonald’s opens, and that is without taking a new shopping centre into account.
To the south, Reynolds Road will provide the only access to the shopping centre, which Ms Herget believes will create significant issues for residents directly opposite trying to enter and exit their driveways.
She also revealed there had been 71 crashes (67 rear end) on Reynolds Road south in the past five years.
Finally, Mr Flint said it was questionable whether the City of Melville had met its legal requirement to inform residents it considered likely to be affected by the proposed development.
“To the best of my knowledge, between two and four properties directly abutting the proposed development were sent notification letters,” he said.
“It beggars belief the City believes no one else is likely to be affected by this development; especially the residents directly across the road.
“The other method of advertisement was through the City of Melville’s website but not on the homepage, hidden in the planning section.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, interested residents were asked to volunteer to form part of a committee that will take responsibility for fighting the development application.
A petition calling for a special electors’ meeting of council to discuss the proposal was also circulated.
CITY of Melville acting chief executive Marten Tieleman said about 27 landowners and residents directly abutting the proposed development were informed via letter on October 18.
He said details of the application and plans were available on the City’s website from October 18 through to November 7 and that the City was not required to advertise the development with a sign on-site.
“A development application is currently being assessed by City staff, with a Responsible Authority Report due for submission to the joint development assessment panel in late December,” he said.
“The traffic aspect of the development is being assessed by the City’s Technical Services and Main Roads WA.
The development is accessed by a single crossover at the south of the site, and appears to be consistent with previous Main Roads WA recommendations.”