ANOTHER service station has been approved for Great Eastern Highway, to the frustration of two of Belmont’s most senior councillors.
The $9.5 million proposed development in Ascot, between Epsom Avenue and Moreing Street, was approved at a Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) meeting last week.
The development plans contain a service station, medical centre, offices, fast food outlets and showrooms.
Both mayor Phil Marks and deputy mayor Robert Rossi spoke strongly against the application, expressing concern about the level of protection provided to nearby residents and racehorses.
The application has been back and forth between JDAP and the State Assessment Tribunal (SAT) for the past 18 months.
City officers recommended approval of the current plan, aside from the proposed pharmacy.
The applicant, Dynamic Planning and Developments Pty Ltd, said the pharmacy would be ancillary to the medical centre, with the pair sharing similar opening hours and a common entry.
A City officer said it was clearly a shop and a pharmacy selling a range of retail goods cannot fall within the definition of incidental.
After a series of amendments from panel members to conditions over road access and the public art component of the development, the proposal minus pharmacy was approved.
Cr Marks and Cr Rossi voted against, while presiding member Charles Johnson, deputy presiding Member Sheryl Chaffer and specialist member Michael Hardy voted for the project.
Mr Johnson said the applicant could go back to SAT to challenge the pharmacy aspect of the application or other conditions, and there were a number of options that could come in to play.
In regards to the response of Belmont’s elected members, Mr Johnson said he understood where they were coming from.
“The real answer is the City should amend the zoning of the site along the highway. The City tried to do that previously, but the state required they continued to have petrol stations and convenience stores as discretionary use,” he said.
“That’s what we’re dealing with, and it’s our job to deal with it on its merits and the facts. The scheme says it’s permissible, and we have to have due regard for that.”