CITY of Subiaco councillors have refused an application for Growers Lane food market at Home Base in Subiaco for the second time, despite the application being sent back to council for reconsideration by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).
The gallery was full of supporters for proponent Diep Tran, whose family operated TR&TR Fruit and Veg at the Station Street markets for 12 years.
Councillors voted 6-4 against the application and the officer’s recommendation to approve a change of use from showroom to shop at the site on Salvado Road.
Ms Tran said her family would fight the decision and take it to trial at the SAT in August.
“I have no idea why this was not approved. We have satisfied all the criteria and the City’s own officers approved it. I don’t know if there’s a personal agenda, but I am extremely disappointed,” she said.
“The community have been amazing and want this, so why aren’t our elected members representing ratepayers and looking at something that is needed in the community?
“I’m not opening a nightclub or applying for a liquor license, I’m opening a fruit and veg shop to service the community. I don’t understand why there is opposition.”
Ms Diep said she would fight the decision and was positive Growers Lane would open at the Home Base site in the near future.
“I am positive SAT will approve this. We’ve gone out of our way and satisfied all the criteria and the reports and council officers have recommended that it be approved,” she said.
“We have to fight this. We have so much support from the community it would be a waste and a letdown if we didn’t.”
Councillors voted instead to approve Cr Mark Burns’ motion to refuse the application.
Cr Stephanie Stroud said if the application was not approved the council risked losing the business to another suburb.
“The Subiaco community and residents want this unique retail offer at Salvado Road,” she said.
Cr Lee Hemsley said he did not understand the motives of the people opposing the application.
“There’s a lack of transparency here I believe,” he said.
Cr Murray Rowe spoke against the application and said he wanted the Growers Lane concept, but not out of the CBD.
“We’ve got a report in front of us with a weak traffic and parking report. This is not the place for Growers Lane. If we start dropping our guard we will be in trouble,” he said.
Cr Burns said he believed the decision needed to come from SAT and could not be decided based on a three-minute speech.
Cr Judith Gedero said Subiaco was more than just Rokeby Road and the shop would bring people into Subiaco.
“We cannot turn people away from opening a business if it’s not on Rokeby Road,” she said.
The Growers Lane food market received more than 1000 signatures of support in an online petition for council to approve the application.
Home Base general manager Gino Premici said it was poor governance.
“The difficult thing for us is the report that came back from staff at the City of Subiaco ticked all the boxes and it has come down to political bias,” he said.
“We are frustrated and disappointed, but the plan is to continue the SAT process and work with the Trans to find out the reasoning behind the decision.”