A NEW Coles supermarket should be backed by councillors, a report urges.
Council officers still have minor concerns about one aspect of the proposal for 715-723 Calder Highway, Maiden Gully but do not object in principle to the supermarket, bottle shop and 10 retail premises.
The developers have taken the council to the state's planning umpire, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, over delays getting planning approvals.
Nine members of the public objected to the supermarket bid on various grounds including developments' layout, landscaping, traffic and car parking at the site.
Council officers said a statutory deadline might have missed but that was not a sign the proposal would be knocked back.
"The officer recommendation would have been to approve the application, subject to appropriate conditions, on the basis that it represents an acceptable planning outcome," council staff said.
The supermarket would become the second with planning approvals, if councillors sign off when they meet on Monday.
IGA has had the permits to expand onto a site next door, fronting McNamara Drive, since 2016 but has not yet acted, council officers say.
The proposed supermarket would be more than three times bigger than the suburb's existing IGA.
That business's owners were sceptical of the Coles proposal when it emerged in mid-2022.
"Certainly Maiden Gully is not suited at this point in time for two shopping complexes, in particular, supermarkets of that size," Maiden Gully IGA owner Mark Geyer said at the time.
Council officers said they could not factor the IGA's expansion into their planning assessment because "the permit has not been acted on and there are no guarantees to if or when this would ever occur".
They did think the Coles' size would suit both the site "and the requirements of the growing Maiden Gully community".
Maiden Gully's population is expected to almost double by 2036 to 22,439 people, according to one estimate by consultancy firm .id.
The surge is widely expected to increase demand for retail services from both new residents and others moving into other suburbs like Marong.
Council officers also used the report to push back on supermarket objector concerns about a host of issues including traffic impacts in the area, saying the supermarket proposal would fit with everything city planners expected in the suburb as it developed.
They did agree with objector concerns about the proposed supermarket's "Click and Collect" area.
The council officers wanted a redesign so that the Click and Collect faces McNamara Drive instead of a Calder Highway service lane, to avoid design and pedestrian safety concerns.
They said the best way to make sure that happened would be to slap it into a list of permit conditions for the site.
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