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Update on proposed supermarket in Forest Street

Pile of newspapers wrapped in string.

Mount Alexander Shire Council is yet to make a decision on a proposed supermarket in Castlemaine as planners wait on more information regarding the planning application.

Monday 15 February 2021

Mount Alexander Shire Council is yet to make a decision on a proposed supermarket in Castlemaine as planners wait on more information regarding the planning application.

The current planning permit application (PA054/2019) proposes a supermarket with a floor area of approximately 3,300m2, two shops (including a bottle shop), car parking and associated landscaping and road works.

The proposed development is located on a pocket of land of more than 8,200m2 near the corner of Duke, Forest and Urquhart streets.

According to Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Director Infrastructure and Development Jess Howard, statutory planners are waiting on more technical information before the matter is taken to Councillors for a decision.

“We know that there is much community interest in the planning for a new supermarket which has been in the pipeline and the subject of discussion over several years,” said Ms Howard.

“While studies have shown a new supermarket could provide a net community benefit to the shire through increased retail spending, employment, and construction, developments of this nature also raise planning matters such as visual amenity, impact on local traffic and parking and cyclist and pedestrian safety.

“At this stage the application has been referred to relevant authorities including the North Central Catchment Management Authority, Goulburn Murray Water, the Department of Transport, Coliban Water and the Environmental Protection Authority.

“Once our statutory planners receive all information required, they can assess the application in accordance with the requirements of the Mount Alexander Planning Scheme, and make a recommendation for consideration by Councillors at a future Council Meeting,” she said.

Mount Alexander Shire Council previously rezoned the land and granted a planning permit for a 1,500m2 supermarket development on the former gasworks site back in April 2018.

Council is now working through the formal steps in the planning process in relation to the current application which proposes a larger supermarket on an expanded site.

In the meantime anyone who may be affected by the granting of a permit can review the planning application via Council’s website and make a submission.

Council has received more than 140 submissions to date, including responses in support of and against the proposal. A submission can be lodged via Greenlight (online via the Council website) or sent in writing to: Mount Alexander Shire Council, PO Box 185, Castlemaine VIC 3450.

For more information visit www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au or contact 5471 1700.

Further background / timeline

April 2018 - Mount Alexander Shire Council issued a planning permit (072/2013) for a 1,500m2 supermarket development at the site, which is still valid.

The land was rezoned and Council issued a planning permit following a formal planning scheme amendment process. This included review of the proposal by an independent planning panel, appointed by the Minister for Planning.

The planning panel report stated a third supermarket would provide a net community benefit to the shire through increased retail spending, employment, and construction, with little or no negative economic impacts on the Castlemaine Commercial Centre.

A previous study found about half of Castlemaine’s retail expenditure is spent outside the shire, and an extra supermarket could encourage more people to shop locally.

April 2019 – Council received a planning permit application (PA054/2019) proposing a larger 3,400m2 supermarket, shops and underground carpark, after the developer acquired neighbouring properties.

The applicant later lodged revised plans in August 2020 to provide for a ground level development, including 108 parking spaces onsite and 63 on-street car parks.

The size and proposed plans submitted by the developer Lascorp indicate the proposed supermarket could be a Woolworths.

Next steps

Staff will assess the planning permit under the Mount Alexander Planning Scheme and will make a recommendation, once all information has been received and assessed.

Councillors will consider the recommendation along with public submissions when making a decision on the planning matter at a future Council meeting. The date is yet to be determined.



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