‘Minor change’ accepted by a court in developer’s fight for a hinterland homemaker centre

A major hinterland development, which could include a Coles supermarket, has had a win in court as the developers continue fighting a rejection from Sunshine Coast Council.

The council unanimously knocked back a major development for a Coles supermarket, homemaker centre and large fast-food outlet on the outskirts of Beerwah in July 2021.

The development application by Coles Group Property Developments requested a material change of use.

However, the council considered it to have “irresolvable” conflicts with the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme as it was earmarked for an area that was not designated for shopping.

Located on the corner of Roys Road and Steve Irwin Way, the proposed precinct has also caused concern for small local business owners.

Beerwah is already home to a Woolworths, Aldi and Fresh & Save, and two service stations.

The shopping giant first lodged an appeal with the Planning and Environment Court in August 2021, with minor changes to its traffic plan approved earlier this month.

Other appeals against the council’s refusal of the project are still ongoing.

Following a hearing in August, documents revealed district court judge David Kent ruled in favour of Coles’ proposed changes on September 1.

The changes pertained to a new U-turn facility to be located on Roys Road, which would help ease traffic and take into consideration heavy vehicles travelling west along the road.

The facility would remove the current right-hand turn from nearby Moroney Place that services neighbouring industrial businesses.

Instead, vehicles would need to turn left to perform a U-turn at a new roundabout before continuing west towards the intersection at Steve Irwin Way.

According to the documentation, several other minor changes were included to the loading dock design and staff parking, plus other traffic modifications, however the only one perceived to be “contentious” was the U-turn facility.

As one of three co-respondents, Village Fair – the company that owns the Beerwah Village and Beerwah Marketplace shopping complexes – opposed the U-turn facility as a minor change.

Among concerns regarding adverse traffic impacts, Village Fair argued the alteration should be classed as a major change to the development application.

“Village Fair argues that the addition of the U-turn facility would result in a substantially different development because the facility adds a new access point for the proposed development,” the documentation stated.

“This refers to the prospect of other future internal roadways leading off the roundabout, and traffic then simply using it for general access.”

The proposed homemaker centre.

Mr Kent ruled in favour of Coles and stated the proposed U-turn facility did not result in a major change to development and would address traffic concerns for heavy vehicles.

“In my conclusion, Coles has discharged its onus of establishing that the proposed contentious change is minor; it does not result in substantially different development,” Mr Kent said.

“The new allocation is entirely within the subject land and is not in that sense ‘new’ or involving any significant new or different impacts.

“The result is that Coles has succeeded in demonstrating the contested change to be minor, together with the other proposed changes as to which there is no contest.”

The matter remains with the Planning and Environment Court for further decision.

Article source: Queensland Property Investor