Woolworths has had the rezoning of its planned Woolworths hardware big-box store with US hardware giant Lowe’s rejected by Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden.
Woolworths’ planned site for the hardware store on the corner of Thompson Road and Ballarat Road, North Geelong had the permit application and rezoning request by Mr Madden on the recommendations of an independent Advisory Committee.
“This Woolworths hardware store proposal on part of the former Geelong Golf Course site was one of eleven proposed across the State,” Mr Madden said.
“In February this year I appointed an Advisory Committee to consider the suitability of all eleven sites and to assess the merits of each project against set criteria including relevant State and local planning policy.
“The Advisory Committee found that this development was not consistent with the City of Greater Geelong’s strategic direction and did not adequately address issues such as urban context, equitable access, public amenity and environmental sustainability.
Woolworths is awaiting Mr Madden’s decision on the remaining 10 Woolworths hardware locations, expected over the next month.
“Given the combined significance of the Woolworths proposals it was important to have a coordinated assessment process to ensure timely processing and due consideration of strategic planning matters,” Mr Madden said.
Mr Madden said the Woolworths hardware stores had the potential to increase retail choice in local communities but that the new stores needed to be well located.
“Each proposal is assessed against local planning policies as well as specific local issues such as traffic, parking, building height, heritage, built form and urban design,” he said.
“By working together with local councils, the community, industry and interested parties, we ensure the best possible planning outcomes for these applications.”
Woolworths is also rumoured to be considering a purchase of the Dahlsens hardware chain which has a presence in the Victorian market, with 20 regional stores and 4 in Melbourne according to reports in The Gippsland Times.