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Palerang rejects supermarket proposal

Supermarket plan too concrete for councillors

Palerang Councillors came to a surprise decision at their April meeting to reject a revised development application for a supermarket complex in Bungendore. The site is on four blocks facing the Kings Highway west of the Caltex station.

Councillor Keith France, who was the last to raise his hand in the 5-3 decision to reject the Krnc Bros Investment Pty Ltd plans in their current form, summed it up:

”We’re between a rock and a hard place.  The developers tried but the architect hasn’t done them any favours. But it is a complying development. If we reject it, the developer is faced with a choice of lodging a new DA with all the attendant fees.”

The decision to reject (and send the developers back to the drawing board) was in response to the proposal’s unadorned concrete box building design. As Councillor Richard Graham argued in making the rejection motion, it does not fit the character and visual amenity of Bungendore as required by the village strategic plan. A more heritage façade, or hiding the building from view, were deemed preferable.

Mayor Pete Harrison agreed that this large development, including a relatively massive car park, would set a precent for what was acceptable design for the village. What worked for Gungahlin was not going to work in Bungendore was the feeling.

Some changes were made by the developer after Council’s March meeting and deferral of a decision until April. These included reducing the floor area of the building by 10 percent and taking it down to a single storey. A majority of Councillors said they felt the changes had been only minimal to the overall visual impact.

Councillor Peter Marshall noted that the proposal also did not comply with council’s responsibility to require ‘ecologically sustainable development’ in a number of important ways.

He said 89 trees would be removed to be replaced by some 8000 sq metres of concrete and asphalt.  Planting 28 news trees was insufficient. There are no plans for solar power, and almost none for rainwater collection in a town with tight water availability.

General Manager Peter Bascomb said the developer now had three choices: either put in a new DA, ask for a review or go to court. Councillors said afterwards they are hopeful revised plans can be achieved.

Neighbours and other Bungendore residents voiced more practical concerns. Neighbours worried about carpark lighting, fencing and privacy, water-runoff, night-time security, potential hooning and graffiti.

Others noted that the complex would house a liquor store open extended hours on the weekends. A concern was that this was right next to the King’s highway, and more generally that traffic on the highway was already very challenging and would get worse with the supermarket.

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