A developer has bypassed planning refusal by a Sydney council in his bid to set up a new service station and workshop in Dural, after being forced out of business following a battle with Fair Work.

The developer, Mohammed Arif Rana, previously operated multiple Caltex service stations under Abdul Wahid & Sons, including one in Dural but it was terminated by Caltex after a company audit.

Public documents reveal the Federal Circuit Court fined Mr Rana and his family business $77,708 in wake of a Fair Work investigation which found regulations had been contravened by supplying “false and misleading” employee payroll records and timesheets.

According to the court documents, in October and November 2016, Fair Work received three anonymous reports “alleging underpayments and falsification of records while employed by AWS at Caltex Dural”.

Mr Rana previously operated a number of Caltex service stations. Picture: Matt Taylor.
Mr Rana previously operated a number of Caltex service stations. Picture: Matt Taylor.

In July, Hornsby Shire Council rejected new plans by Mr Rana for the service station, convenience store and mechanical workshop proposed at 805-821 Old Northern Rd.

Councillors found there was “no clear community benefit” from the proposal while raising a series of inconsistencies with local planning systems.

Councillors found that the proposal would result in “unacceptable impacts on the road network” and also questioned the impact the proposal would have on surrounding trees.

“A service station on the site would constitute development for an urban service outside a commercial centre,” a council planner said in the report to councillors.

“Service stations would be more appropriately located within commercial land in the nearby Round Corner, Dural service centre or other rural villages.”

Cr Robert Browne said the council had a meeting with Mr Rana before he purchased the land, where the council’s position on the matter was made clear.

The proposed site of the service station. Picture: Google Maps.
The proposed site of the service station. Picture: Google Maps.

“There was a meeting where the applicant was told of the current situation and that the council was unlikely to support the proposal. Despite this, the owner proceeded to lodge the application and purchase the property a few months later,” Cr Browne said.

Following the council refusal, Mr Rana, submitted a rezoning review application calling on the NSW Planning Department to approve the spot rezoning of the site to allow the construction of the petrol station.

“The proposal seeks consent for an additional permitted use to enable redevelopment of the site for the purpose of a service station, associated convenience store and mechanical workshop,” the planner said in the proposal. ”It is intended that the service station would comprise a car fuelling station – estimate eight cars to be parked in the refuelling area – a shop and vehicle workshop.”

The developer argued the site was “ideally located to directly serve the needs of businesses and residents in the local and greater communities, which are subject to pressures from existing and continuing population growth”.

Back in July Mr Rana told the Hornsby Advocate he was planning to fight the planning refusal.

The proposed site of the service station. Picture: Google Maps.
The proposed site of the service station. Picture: Google Maps.

“The council just didn’t consider my circumstances and they didn’t consider the whole situation with the whole country. We need to create jobs. We should be focusing more on the businesses,” Mr Rana said.

He also addressed his history with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“I had workers and all these things, the business was doing fine. When they were doing the audit we fully co-operated and I told them exactly everything. But I didn’t have the proper records.

“I’d never been audited and it never happened to me before. I learned my past lessons.”

He said he hoped to start an independent service station and did not want to be part of a Caltex of Woolworths franchise.

“To be honest since I lost my businesses I want to build a service station.”

NSW Planning will determine the fate of the spot rezoning request.

Extracted in full from: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/hornsby-advocate/dural-petrol-station-developers-bid-to-bypass-hornsby-council-refusal-for-old-northern-rd-site/news-story/3c3f9e61102cb355428eb6128fb3ec6b

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