Shopping centre DA rejected by Council

The long awaited arrival of an ALDI in Kiama has received another setback, with the DA for the $18 million redevelopment of Kiama Village being knocked back unanimously by councillors after a damning report by planning staff (see below).

Kate Mathewson, the National Portfolio Manager Retail Services for the owner – super fund ISPT, says they are disappointed with the outcome but respect Council’s decision.

“We have spent the past two years closely collaborating with Council on the proposal and were surprised at the decision.

“We will now need to reconsider our strategy with this asset.”

Council’s General Manager Kerry McMurray says the outcome should not have been a surprise.

“There have been multiple issues that have been raised throughout the process and additional information sought. I believe this should have given them a very clear indication there were a number of issues that still needed to be addressed.

“The owners may still present a different proposal.”

Amongst other things, the siting of the proposed two level car park was judged to be unreasonably close to Terralong Apartments.

Some of the setbacks, including to the spiral ramp, and upper level car park deck were one metre or less to the common boundary – with neighbouring units and balconies as close as 1.2 metres to the car park.

In proposing the motion to reject the DA, Councillor Matt Brown said, “We are all disappointed this has not achieved the right outcome.

“However we are very aware of the concerns of residents that this proposal was not going to be a good fit.”

He and other councillors praised the contribution of residents of Meares Place to their understanding of the impact of the proposal, particularly Sandy Morse and Alan Ogg.

Ms Mathewson says the aim of the development was to re-invest in the centre, providing an improved offering for Kiama customers.

“This would have resulted in the introduction of ALDI along with upgraded carparking and new speciality stores, ensuring the long-term viability of the centre.”

ISPT estimates the $18 million redevelopment would have created around 300 jobs during construction, plus another 80 full-time equivilant positions once trading, many of them for local young people and part-time employees.

The report by staff considered this in its summary:

“It is acknowledged that there are economic benefits and the proposal will redevelop an aging site, however regardless of benefits it is also imperative that this flagship site, within the town centre be appropriately and carefully developed. It is essential that any resulting development does not further impact negatively on the Kiama Township or result in poor outcomes for the community and surrounding neighbours.”

Council is still committed to the idea of another supermarket in central Kiama.

“Council is still considering what options are available,” says Mr McMurray.

“This particular application wasn’t appropriate for the site, so it is time to look at other options.”

Developer Nick Dowd has an approved DA for a shopping and residential complex on Council’s Akuna Street site, but does not own the land.

Reasons for the refusal
The detailed report presented by staff records many reasons why the development is ‘unacceptable and must be refused’, including:

  • a frontage dominated by loading docks, car park, sub-stations and other electricity infrastructure rather than shop fronts and direct pedestrian access arrangements to the centre. Just 22 per cent of the frontage was to be activated by two small shop fronts.
  • a 39 per cent shortfall in the parking required (another 147 were required)
  • a range of inconsistencies with the Kiama Development Control Plan
  • it not being in the public interest due to insufficient setbacks to neighbours, pedestrian access issues, street outcomes, etc.
  • unresolved engineering outcomes
  • insufficient information about the likely impacts of the development
    lack of information about contamination, waste management, noise mitigation and more, which were needed to make a fully informed assessment.

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