Goulburn Mulwaree Council will enter into conciliation with the proponents of the 7-Eleven development in Clinton Street following its refusal last month.

Legal and Planning advice presented at a special meeting of councillors last Thursday warned that their unanimous decision on February 3 to support the community would be difficult to defend in court.

“The Council will appeal to the goodwill of the 7-Eleven applicants not to destroy three heritage houses in Clinton Street and perhaps relocate this development to a more appropriate site,” the council said in a statement.

An external planning consultant has advised Council that there isn’t a “cohesive streetscape”.

The street block is eclectic with a mix of land uses and characters from the single dwelling houses to the commercial uses.

“In this context the service station will fit comfortably with the existing commercial uses”, the consultant said.

“There are three existing services stations in close proximity to the site on Clinton Street, two to the east and one to the west. The proposed service station will be a continuation of that character.

“It reflects the context of the site on a major thoroughfare on the periphery of the commercial centre.

“Visually, the proposed development is superior to the service stations to the east in that it provides some (limited) landscaping to soften its appearance.”
Council advised the Land and Environment Court on Friday that it wishes to enter into a conciliation conference.“Council’s intention is to negotiate the best possible outcome for the community,” the council statement read.

Mayor Geoff Kettle said that although the community would like the council to defend its decision vigorously, it also need to be responsible with the use of ratepayer funds.

The cost to defend this decision of Council could exceed $100,000, he said.

He said a positive outcome from this process was that Council had a clear direction to address deficiencies in its Local Environmental and Development Control Plans.

“While some proposals tick all the boxes this can still result in development that doesn’t complement the desired character of the area,” he said.

“Council’s strong stand on the development is consistent with the community feedback that we must value our heritage buildings and ensure our planning guidelines achieve the outcomes that our ratepayers expect.”

Council’s Strategic Planning Program includes a review of the LEP and DCP and a revised Heritage Strategy commencing in 2015.

Extracted in full from Goulburn Post.