RELATED: Price wars wouldn’t help farmers
A proposed supermarket development in Castlemaine will be reviewed by an independent planning panel.
The panel will consider whether to rezone land in Castlemaine to allow the development to proceed.
If the proposal is approved, it will be the third supermarket in Castlemaine.
The supermarket would be 1500 square metres and include associated car parking and access requirements.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Mount Alexander Shire councillors resolved to request the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne appoint the independent panel.
The land at the centre of the development is a former gasworks site at 98 Forest Street and includes adjoining land at 2 Urquhart Street, 2A Urquhart Street and 2 Duke Street.
During a two-month public exhibition period, Mount Alexander Shire Council has received 32 submissions in support and opposing the development.
Referral to the planning panel will enable all submissions to be considered with those who entered submission to have the opportunity to be heard by the panel.
Once the panel is appointed, directions hearings will be held in March with panel hearing expected to start in April.
Recommendations to council will be made by May or June. Mount Alexander shire will consider the recommendations and determine whether to adopt the amendments before returning it to the Minister for Planning for approval.
It is not yet known which brand of supermarket would occupy the building if the amendment is approved.
The applicant is a specialist supermarket developer who develops sites around Australia for a range of supermarket tenants.
A Castlemaine Commercial Centre Study in 2012 found approximately 50 per cent of the town’s retail expenditure is spent outside the shire.
Retail experts suggest an additional supermarket could reduce escape expenditure and encourage more people to shop locally.