Aldi taking council to VCAT

Council is opposed to the Henry Street Aldi.

By Rowan Forster

Aldi will take Cardinia Shire to the state’s planning umpire over a “failure” by the council to determine a planning application within the 60 day statutory timeframe.

Since the German retail powerhouse lodged proceedings with the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), councillors have affirmed that they will oppose the proposed Henry Street supermarket.

Despite receiving only two objections, the council is adamant that the application is “inconsistent” with Pakenham’s Precinct Structure Plan and neighbourhood character.

The $4 million store, encompassing 77-79 and 81 Henry Street, will be put on hold while the proceedings take place.

Council’s planning officers identified six issues with the proposed supermarket.

“It does not achieve a building design outcome that contributes positively to the local context and enhances the public realm,” a report prepared for councillors read.

“(The proposal) does not provide a high standard of design which creates a strong character and identity for the area

“The proposal is not consistent with the decision guidelines as it does not represent orderly planning of the area and is likely to impact on the visual amenity of the area.”

In justifying the new store, a spokeswoman for Aldi said it would have wider benefits for shoppers across Pakenham.

“Since opening in Pakenham, we’ve seen strong demand in the local community for an alternative place to shop,” she said.

“Our decision to open a second store will make it even more convenient for local residents to shop with us.”

“Even if a customer doesn’t shop at Aldi, they still benefit from having an Aldi store in their local area as it places pressure on retailers to be competitive.”

The council also cited concerns that the supermarket’s loading bay was too close to properties on Henry Street and would result in an “unreasonable impact” on amenity due to the noise of heavy vehicles.

The full VCAT hearing will take place on 3 April, 2019.

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