RESIDENTS opposed to a proposed new Woolworths in Mt Pleasant were handed a three-month reprieve when a Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) voted unanimously to defer the project on Monday.
Both Melville council representatives Cameron Schuster and Nicole Foxton and the panel’s three specialist members were unconvinced by the proponent’s traffic impact study and the lack of detailed plans for a proposed right hand turning pocket that will provide access to the development from Reynolds Road south of Canning Highway.
The JDAP also raised concerns about a western boundary wall that will reach 9m in height in certain sections and the lack of a retail sustainability assessment to support the project.
A retail sustainability assessment investigates the potential economic and related effects of a significant retail expansion on the network of activity centres around a given location.
City of Melville planning officers had recommend JDAP approve the proposed 5000sq m commercial building, which is a joint venture between Saracen Properties and Woolworths.
The three-month deferral gives the proponent time to work with the City to address the issues raised by JDAP before it returns to the panel for a second hearing.
Saracen Properties executive chairman Luke Saraceni remained confident of getting the project across the line.
“I’ve never been to a JDAP meeting where the development has been the subject of extensive consultation, is supported by the relevant local government and then gets deferred; that is quite rare,” he said.
“However, given the volume of objections and the number of people that spoke against the development at the meeting I can understand that the panel wants further detail.
“We will make amendments where we can and where they are required but the traffic work carried out by ourselves, Main Roads and City of Melville planning officers has been done to death.
“As far as the right hand turning pocket goes, we haven’t got to detailed design yet but we do know that it will fit and that it will work.”
Independent traffic consultant Heidi Herget and Bateman MLA Dean Nalder were among six opponents of the development that presented to the JDAP.
Ms Herget said she could not understand why Melville planning officers supported the development in light of a Cardno peer review that identified a number of issues with the proponent’s traffic impact study.
“It is virtually unheard of for a local government to ignore the findings of its own report to this extent,” she said.
“Far from unequivocally signing off on the project, Main Roads has said it is likely to result in a significant deterioration of service on Reynolds Road.”
Mr Nalder said he was pleased the decision had been delayed and that feedback he had received from the local community indicated that a smaller suburban centre would be more acceptable.