Mayor supports supermarket review

THE supermarket needs of both Murwillumbah and Pottsville need to be reviewed, according to Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase.

Cr Polglase has voiced his support for a review of shopping needs in both rapidly-growing townships which would overturn existing council planning policies restricting new supermarkets to the existing central business districts.

At last week's council meeting councillors voted against meeting with developers of Pottsville's Seabreeze housing estate, Metricon, to discuss reviewing plans of a shopping centre there – but only after a stoush over whether community members and current business operators in the heart of the town could attend.

Meanwhile some Murwillumbah business people, who feel the growth of the town is being stunted by the council's refusal to consider new supermarket proposals at South Murwillumbah, have questioned why a promised review of council restrictions was not carried out.

Cr Polglase says “it's time” that was also done.

When the former council administrators refused approval of a supermarket on the former Norco milk factory site in South Murwillumbah in 2006 they introduced a policy of supporting a new supermarket “on a consolidated land parcel within the Murwillumbah CBD”.

But they added a clause calling for a review of the decision “in two years if a consolidated land parcel within the CBD area is unable to be achieved”.

Despite the council resolution no review has been conducted and the owner of the former Norco site is putting the property up for auction on Saturday.

Cr Polglase said consolidation of sites in the Murwillumbah CBD would not happen because the land was too expensive.

“Murwillumbah and the surrounding areas are growing. We have to, as a council, be bold enough to look to the future.”

At Tuesday's council meeting Cr Polglase pushed for a meeting sought by developer Metricon to explain its plans for a new shopping centre outside Pottsville.

The request has been fiercely opposed by Pottsville businesses who thought the supermarket and shopping centre proposals was defeated in a NSW Land and Environment Court case in 2008.

But Cr Polglase said the court ruling at the time made it clear the judgement should “not be construed as saying there should never be a full-line supermarket” in the Seabreeze estate, and the council had an obligation to allow the developers to come and put their case. 

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