Big box update
Bunnings store development update
Construction is poised to begin on a 30,000sqm retail centre in Lake Macquarie (NSW) that will feature a Bunnings
Construction is poised to begin on a 30,000sqm retail centre in Lake Macquarie (NSW) that will feature a Bunnings
 
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A round up of Bunnings store plan rejections and approvals from across Australia
HNN Sources
A development application (DA) for a Bunnings Tempe outlet has been rejected; work is underway on a Bunnings store in Mernda (VIC); plans for a Bunnings Warehouse at Kembla Grange (NSW) have been approved; a Bunnings store will be part of a retail precinct in Lake Macquarie (NSW); the South Nowra Bunnings DA proceeds to the next phase; Bunnings has failed to gain approval for a site in Coolum (QLD); a Bunnings store is featured in plans to develop a former winery site in Old Reynella (SA); and a proposal for a Bunnings store in Merimbula is expected to be approved.
Tempe

Inner West Council has welcomed a decision by the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel to defer approval of the Tempe Bunnings DA.

The proposal was for a $70 million 20,000sqm store that would use a residential street as its main entrance for traffic. Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said:
The panel made this unanimous decision based on Council's submission which identified very serious traffic and parking potential impacts from the proposed development.
Not only did the panel defer approval, they also requested an independent traffic assessment by a consultant mutually appointed by Council and the applicant at the expense of the applicant. This is a very good outcome for the community.

Council told the panel there were serious issues relating to the proposed development, and that the proponent had failed to address the council's and community's legitimate objections. Mayor Byrne said:
When I addressed the panel...I told them the impacts on traffic in Smith Street, Union Street, South Street and other local residential streets in Tempe would be completely unacceptable.
Bunnings and Council will now work together to find a mutually acceptable traffic expert to conduct, at Bunnings' expense, a peer reviewed and independent assessment that includes a local area traffic management scheme.

Bunnings has been set a 15 December deadline to submit the traffic assessment and management scheme.
Mernda

Construction of a 12,000sqm Bunnings Warehouse in Mernda is due for completion in early December.

The store is a major part of the new Mernda Town Centre, and will include a nursery, cafe and playground. The remainder of the centre will include a Woolworths supermarket, ambulance station and takeaway shops. It will have a mix of retail, commercial and community facilities.

Bunnings Victoria West state operations manager Tony Manzone told the Whittlesea Leader more than 120 people would be employed at the warehouse.
Kembla Grange

A $30 million Bunnings store planned for Kembla Grange was given the go ahead by the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel. It will be built on a 40,000sqm block in Northcliffe Drive next to the Princes Highway. The store is set to take up about a third of the 40,000sqm site, with parking for 415 cars included.

Andrew Marks, Bunnings' general manager - property said it was pleased to have received development approval for the new store which will replace the current Bunnings Warrawong Warehouse. He told the Illawarra Mercury:
To accommodate the additional traffic in the local area, we will be undertaking improvement works to the intersection of Northcliffe Drive and the Princes Highway. Furthermore, Wollongong City Council and Bunnings will also be co-funding the construction of a new roundabout on Northcliffe Drive which will provide safe access to the new store, as well as bring forward a key piece of road infrastructure to service the West Dapto release area.

Bunnings rent its current site at Warrawong. Mr Marks said team members will transfer from the existing warehouse to the new one, and could be joined by over 30 more staff.
Lake Macquarie

Construction is set to start on a $90 million shopping complex in Lake Macquarie that will include a Bunnings Warehouse which will be located at the southern end of the site. It is due to be completed by December 2019.

The 30,000sqm retail centre is located on the Pacific Highway at Bennetts Green.

Spotlight Group, which owns the Spotlight and Anaconda retail chains, has received state government approval to start work on the first stage of the development.

Council initially sold the site for $20.3 million in January 2016 to Hydrox Nominees - a land-holding company for Masters Home Improvement. Approval was granted for a Masters outlet, bulky goods units and a restaurant, but with the retail chain's demise, the land was sold to Spotlight Group.
South Nowra

Shoalhaven councillors have helped to push along a DA lodged by Bunnings and Nowra Property Group that could see the South Nowra Bunnings Warehouse expand by almost two and a half times its current size. Bunnings development approvals manager Phillip Drew told the South Coast Register:
It will be one of the biggest stores in our network.

The matter was brought to the chamber as the applicants sought a height limit variation of more than 10% (from 11m to 15.5m). It is now up to council staff to make a determination on the DA.

The proposed expansion of the Bunnings store at South Nowra will take in the car park area and a separate block to the north.
Coolum

The Planning and Environment Court rejected an appeal by Bunnings to allow a big box store on the western entrance to Coolum. The site sits opposite Coolum State School and at the gateway to the tourist town.

Mr Marks said Bunnings would now consider its position. He told the Sunshine Coast Daily:
Bunnings is disappointed with the Court of Queensland's decision and will now evaluate our options.

Community organisations including Development Watch, Coolum Ratepayers Association, business owners and individuals joined Sunshine Coast Council in fighting the appeal. The judgment was handed down by Judge DCJ Everson who found the proposals in serious conflict with the superseded planning scheme.

He said the retailer opportunistically sought to place a large stand-alone Bunnings Warehouse in a location not intended for such use. He said:
The absence of any master planning makes for an inappropriate utilisation of the site in any event. No grounds have been put forward which are, on balance, sufficient to justify approving either of the proposed developments notwithstanding the conflicts.

Barrister for Bunnings, Danny Gore said the warehouse size differed in the company's two remaining proposals. Mr Gore told the court one plan was for a 5850sqm warehouse. The other proposed warehouse was 8600sqm.

The judgment also considered the development would have an unacceptable impact on the Mitre 10 hardware business in Coolum Beach. Peregian Beach Hardware owner Russell Lunn said if the Bunnings appeal had been allowed, it would have cost the business 20-30% of its turnover. Mr Lunn said the proposal had forced him to draw up long-term plans for his business.
I've had staff who have worked here for 20 years. They are loyal people. Eventually there would have been hard decisions. I've looked for savings but eventually we would have been squeezed out. I don't believe we would have survived long term.

Development Watch president Lyn Saxton praised the way the town had pulled together to retain the village nature of its retail precinct. She said:
Coolum is a tourist town and a big box development was not appropriate for the western gateway.

Ms Saxton said if a Bunnings had been allowed, up to 10 small businesses would have been forced out.

Prior to the judgement being handed down, economist Marcus Brown said local residents already had access to hardware stores, which include Bunnings stores at Maroochydore and Noosaville. He gave evidence during the Planning and Environment Court hearing.

Mr Brown said it was a 15-20-minute journey either way on high-speed roads to other Bunnings stores. He described the neighbourhood as a "sub-regional trade area".

The court heard the "trade area" under scrutiny had a population of 41,000.

Related:
Bunnings tries a second time to build in Coolum - HNN
Old Reynella

Bunnings wants to open a $29 million, 14,000sqm warehouse on an old winery site in Old Reynella. According to Messenger Newspapers, Tarac Properties, which owns the former Accolade Winery and Distribution Centre, has lodged a DA with Onkaparinga Council on behalf of Bunnings, to convert an existing warehouse into a store on Panalatinga Road.

The Bunnings store would be part of a $150 million proposal to redevelop the site with housing, retail and commercial businesses, health and wellbeing activities, education opportunities and a childcare centre.

Under the proposal, there would be traffic lights from Panalatinga Road into Bunnings, One regulated and three significant trees would need to be removed. Mr Marks said residents' traffic concerns would be addressed.
The development application included a traffic impact assessment report to ensure the safe and efficient use of the surrounding roads.

The site has a vineyard, warehouses, and state and locally heritage-listed buildings. The proposed Bunnings warehouse is about 100m away from the vineyards.

There are Bunnings warehouses 8.5km away in Noarlunga Centre, about 11km away in Marion 13.5km in Seaford and another, which is under construction, 14.5km distance in Edwardstown.

Local resident Maryann Nankivell is continuing her campaign to block the entire redevelopment of the site. Earlier this year, she started an online petition called "Make Old Reynella Grape Again". It has around 1700 signatures protesting against the proposed development.

She said the setting had too much cultural significance to be razed and should be used for wine production. Ms Nankivell planned to continue her crusade to "save the site", arguing that it should be maintained in its entirety, "just as a winery, and keep with the heritage of the area".
Merimbula

A proposal for a Bunnings store in Tura Beach, Merimbula is being considered by the local council. It will consider support for the proposal to rezone the land, owned by Wesfarmers, to a B5 business development zone. When viewed alongside council's Commercial Centres Strategy Review, it is believed the proposal will receive approval from NSW Planning.

If it does so, the DA which forms part of the document will also receive approval. The proposed Bunnings Warehouse will have a floorspace of 6930sqm. However there are concerns about its proximity to RSL LifeCare's Sanananda Park.

Merimbula News Weekly understands Bunnings' plans have been altered to accommodate the concerns by placing the car park at the rear of the store to provide a buffer zone. At its closest, the boundaries of Bunnings and Sanananda Park will be 12m and at its furthest 47m.

In its proposal, Bunnings states the site is the best location on the Sapphire Coast given its "excellent site accessibility, exposure to customers and proximity to trade customers". The company said numbers of new dwellings had increased from 148 in 2012, to 193 in 2016.

In its market assessment, Bunnings said the new store is forecast to achieve a turnover of $13.3 million in its first year of operation which is taken to be financial year 2019/20. The development is estimated to cost $9.5 million.
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Big Box Update - HI News Vol. 4 No.7
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