A JOINT Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) has given the green light to a 5000sq m commercial development, anchored by a Woolworths supermarket, on the corner of Canning Highway and Reynolds Road.
The decision comes despite the City of Melville withdrawing its support for the project and recommending JDAP knock back the proposal.
While both Melville councillors Nicole Foxton and Cameron Schuster voted against approval, they were outnumbered by the panel’s three specialist members.
The $23.5 million development first appeared before JDAP in March, when a decision was deferred based on traffic concerns, a 9m-high western boundary wall and the lack of a retail sustainability assessment (RSA).
At that stage, City of Melville planning officers recommended approving the project but back flipped on their stance after a peer review of the eventually supplied RSA found that while there was sufficient demand for a full line supermarket in the area, there were doubts over whether two could be supported.
Accordingly, planning officers said 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.
The panel’s three specialist members were unmoved by that argument, siding with the authors of the original RSA who made a deputation to JDAP stating the Australian industry standard was one full line supermarket per 10,000 people, meaning there was ample surrounding population to support the development.
Under questioning, City of Melville planning officers conceded the proposal complied with the zoning requirements of the site and that they were satisfied with the traffic implications of the development as well as the western boundary wall, which had been revised to a slightly lower height.
Before voting to approve the development, JDAP specialist member Christopher Antill said he was unconvinced by the City of Melville’s about face.
“The City previously called this site a unique location and the RSA concludes there is current capacity in the area to support this shopping centre,” he said.
Presiding member Charles Johnson said he would prefer the development was located at Canning Bridge or the Riseley district centres but that there were no legal grounds to refuse.
He said there was no strong evidence to refuse on traffic or amenity concerns and that the proposal appeared to be accord with the relevant planning and regulatory policies.
The JDAP also found that while there was already considerable congestion at the intersection of Canning Highway and Reynolds Road, that was a pre-existing issue and would not be unduly exacerbated by the addition of a Woolworths supermarket.
A big contingent of nearby residents were in attendance to hear the decision, many concerned the development, which will only be accessible via Reynolds Roads, will dramatically increase traffic and noise and drive down property values in the area.