VICTORIA'S planning umpire has dismissed a council's attempts to stop a Bunnings Warehouse rising in Kyneton.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has disagreed the new store would be inappropriate for a site on Edgecombe Road, 1.6km away from the centre of town.
Developers took the Macedon Ranges Shire to VCAT after it failed to make a decision fast enough on their application for the Bunnings, which would be the anchor tenant for a collection of retail premises.
The council told VCAT that if it had made a decision, it would have opposed the Bunnings on a number of grounds.
It argued the Bunnings building would clash with the area's unique, rural township character and detract from a gateway into Kyneton, in part because motorists would be able to see it from the Calder Freeway.
"While the proposal is an appropriate use of the site, the development response fail [sic] to recognise the sensitivities of the site," the council told VCAT.
Developers' witnesses argued the building's design was one Bunnings had used at other regional locations.
VCAT described the building as a generally typical Bunnings Warehouse design, with a low-pitched roof, dark green metal cladding walls and white panelling along the lower portion of the facades.
The planning umpire said the land was not at the town's border and was in an area zoned for commercial use, with industrial lots already visible to people entering that part of town.
It also expected the rural feel of the area would change over time, and that building designs and landscaping would soften the Bunnings' visual impact.
The council lodged a number of other objections that failed to sway VCAT.
They included arguments that more landscaping was needed, especially to soften the building and car parking from roads like the Calder Highway.
The council also argued designs for a 190-odd space car park could be more pedestrian-friendly.
VCAT found current landscaping plans and car parking would be appropriate.
It ordered developers to submit updated plans to planning authorities.
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