Urban shop bid
TWEED Shire Council may be forced to re-think its ban on new shopping centres outside existing commercial hubs in the wake of a State Government ruling that more areas should be freed up for shops.
Draft rules sent to councils across NSW earlier this month would allow shopping centres to expand into areas now zoned 'residential only' in a bid to make it easier for developers to build retail centres.
But Tweed Shire Council has for years resisted pressure from developers to allow new shopping centres, blocking plans for a Supa-IGA supermarket on the site of the old Norco milk factory at South Murwillumbah. It is finally going ahead with a smaller IGA.
Council officers recently warned plans to redevelop the Murwillumbah Bowls and Sports Club as a shopping complex, with the lawn bowls relocated to the top level, might face difficulties because the surrounding area is zoned residential.
Yesterday the council's planning director Vince Connell confirmed staff were studying the Department of Planning's draft Centres Policy. He said they would report back to councillors on its implications for the Tweed Shire, including how it would affect existing rules on retail developments.
But he added the council's recently adopted Tweed Urban and Employments Lands Release Strategy 2009 did already provide a “broader strategic direction for the consideration of employment generating land use”.
Planning Minister Kristina Keneally said the policy would stimulate economic activity “by co-locating business, shopping services and entertainment in centres using transport and other infrastructure more efficiently”.
The policy is partly based on the argument that the market is best placed to determine the need for retail and commercial development.
The government says the planning system should ensure “the supply of available floor space always accommodates the market demand” to the extent of helping “new entrants into the market” and promoting competition.
The draft policy can be seen available on the Department of Planning website ( www.planning.nsw.gov.au) and is on public exhibition until May 11.