City of Greater Bendigo councillors have been advised to approve a new service station in Huntly, despite considerable community angst over the project.
The proposed site, on the Midland Highway near the intersection of Huntly-Fosterville Road, is in the centre of the township, and many objectors have argued the new business could impact the feel and activity of the area.
Thirty four objections were received by the COGB during the advertising period, most of which were addressed in a planning report to councillors, who will vote on whether to grant a permit for the development at an ordinary meeting on December 12.
- Commercial advantage and impacts on the existing businesses
- Amenity impacts including noise, light spill and fumes, traffic and parking access onto local roads
- Suitability of the site for a service station, noting the majority of the objections did not oppose a service station in Huntly but did oppose a service station on this site
- Impact on adjoining heritage buildings
- Size and scale of the development
- Impact on future development in Huntly
- Impact on the feel, activity and character of the area
In a report to councillors, a COGB planner referenced a Huntly structure plan from 2005 and township plan from 2009, one of which suggested a petrol station was required but not in the centre of town, while the other promoted the retention of the bushland character, environmental assets and village setting of Huntly.
The planner said because the plans were both reference documents, which do not form part of the Planning Scheme, “limited weight can be placed on them in assessing this application”.
“Whilst it is accepted that the proposal is at odds with parts of the strategic work, it is argued that the proposal is generally in accordance with the vision for Huntly,” the planner’s report stated.
“The proposal will enhance economic activity in an activity centre which has experienced rapid residential growth in recent years. Additional street tree planting and the proposed landscaping on all boundaries and internally will assist in minimising the impact on the bushland character vision for Huntly.”
Most objectors agreed a service station in Huntly was required, but considered the current site – next to the old shire hall – inappropriate.
“Whilst it could be debated whether there are other land uses that may better serve the community's needs and better utilise the subject site, a decision must be made on the proposal submitted and there is no sound justification to refuse the proposal on strategic grounds when it is an acceptable planning outcome with regards to built form, amenity impacts, traffic and parking,” the report stated.
“There is no sound argument to refuse the application on strategic grounds alone and as the proposal is an acceptable outcome on all other considerations, it is recommended that a planning permit be granted.”
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