Bunnings expansion gets green light after appeal over fire risk

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AN expansion of Bunnings Balcatta has been approved after it won an appeal in the State Administrative Tribunal over fire risk.

In August 2018, the Metro North-West Development Assessment Panel approved Bunnings’ application to expand its operations on the corner of Balcatta and Erindale roads.

But it denied an extension of the timber trade sales yard and enclosure of the building materials and landscape area because of a perceived fire risk from its location next to vacant bushland, classed as a bushfire prone area.

Bunnings appealed to SAT which late last year ordered the refused aspects of the development be allowed.

In delivering its findings, the tribunal acknowledged the proposed development did not comply with the State’s Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas policy but said denying the building extensions would not reduce the risk or impact of bushfire on the property.

It said the panel’s bushfire and planning experts had “inflexibly applied” the policy and associated guidelines.

Michel Scott, who presented in support of Bunnings, said the redevelopment would improve safety and reduce the bushfire risk.

The tribunal imposed conditions requiring building materials to meet Australian Standards for construction in bushfire prone areas and revised bushfire management plans being submitted before work started.

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