STATE planning minister Richard Wynne had “shown contempt” for Mornington Peninsula Shire residents over the proposed Kaufland supermarket development, the Mornington Environment Association says.
The group’s president Margaret Howden said the minister had disregarded the “community’s rights and responsibilities in determining what we believe are shire-appropriate developments for us”.
The German giant has earmarked a site next to the Bata factory on the corner of Nepean Highway and Oakbank Road for a 4000 square metre “hypermart” which is outside the town’s retail precinct. (See Super store could ‘destroy’ gateway The News 5/11/18).
Mr Wynne has appointed an advisory committee to assess the planning application – effectively removing it from the checks and balances of the shire’s planning process.
“The [shire’s] planning controls have been developed by the community members of Mornington,” Ms Howden said.
“The [Kaufland] proposal, on the edge of our Green Belt, will degrade that which the Labor Government and the shire have sworn to protect.
“The gigantic structure will apparently be surrounded by 430 carparks, with signage 20 metres high and 60 metres long. It will predominantly and permanently dominate the green gateway skyline.
“We call on all ratepayers to stand up and support the shire by objecting to this proposal.”
Kaufland spokesperson Didem Brennan said the advisory committee process initiated by Mr Wynne was “legitimate, transparent and accountable and encourages public engagement”.
“Under Section 151 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 Kaufland is allowed to seek planning approvals from the responsible minister to which any interested party can make a submission and seek to appear in front of an independent panel of experts,” he said.
“Kaufland is making significant investment and employment decisions which require a degree of certainty that a traditional planning pathway through six individual councils could not provide.
“Cases such as Kaufland’s, in which certainty is needed across multiple sites at one time, are one of the reasons such a panel process exists.”
Mr Brennan said the company – which operates mainly in Europe – hoped to be “a part of the community for the long term”.
“Regardless of the prescribed planning process, Kaufland will continue to engage with local councils in whose communities we are seeking to invest,” he said.
“We look forward to engaging further with community organisations and business groups as we continue on our path towards store openings.”