The site of the former Norco milk factory in South Murwillumbah where a Supa IGA supermarket was formerly proposed.
The site of the former Norco milk factory in South Murwillumbah where a Supa IGA supermarket was formerly proposed. Crystal Spencer

Murwillumbah supermarket denied

A PRIME commercial block of land, which once housed Murwillumbah's Norco milk factory, is to be sold off in the wake of Tweed Shire Council's refusal to allow a large supermarket to be built there.

"I would still like to see someone do something with it," owner and Tweed businessman Bruce Campbell said yesterday.

Mr Campbell has put the 6250sq m property in the hands of Ray White Tweed Heads real estate agent Jared Hodge for auction on Saturday, June 26, bringing down the curtain on a seven-year ambition to build either a community market or a competitive supermarket on the site.

Plans, which were given council approval in 2003 for a "Riverside Markets" complex, did not get sufficient commercial backing.

In 2006 the then council administrators blocked plans for a Supa IGA supermarket declaring any new full-line supermarkets in Murwillumbah should be within the town centre.

Proposals for a smaller supermarket failed to get commercial backing and recent rumours the site was had been earmarked by MacDonalds Australia for a new fast food restaurant were also last week dismissed.

Mr Campbell said the difficulties he had faced "reflect the economic conditions we are in".

He has now cleared the site and erected a large hoarding advertising the auction on June 26.

Mr Hodge said marketing began last week and he was expecting strong interest largely because of the site's high visibility on the Tweed Valley Way.

"About 15,000 vehicles as it," Mr Hodge said.

"It's a prime site and everyone's been wondering what will happen with it."

Mr Hodge said the property, which covers nine titles, would be first offered as one lot but, if that did not sell, would be offered as two separate parcels, on covering 3281 square metres and the other 2984 square metres. "The block lends itself to a mixed use development with the potential of fast food, convenience stores and or bulky goods outlet," he said.

It also has council approval for a 1088 square metre convenience store and 765 square metres of retail space for "bulky goods" plus 374 square metres of speciality shops.

The pending sale of the site marks the end of another stage in the battle to get a second large supermarket in Murwillumbah competing with the existing Coles supermarket which is in Sunnyside Mall.

It also follows the collapse of hopes for a supermarket complex on the site of the Murwillumbah Bowls and Sports Club.

In April last year club members voted in favour of a proposals which would have seen redevelopment of the club site for a major supermarket, with the bowls greens and clubhouse relocated to the roof of the new complex.

However those plans collapsed with the revelation last month that the club was still in financial trouble and in negotiations for a merger with the Murwillumbah Services Club.

The council itself has also been trying to sell car park land which some estate agents felt could be developed for a supermarket. However local agents have warned supermarket operators are more likely to seek a tenancy in a large complex where their rent would be subsidised by speciality stores.

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