Walcha Council has deferred making a decision on an application made by Jeremy Allen Planning and Design for a $1.6 million retail outlet development by the Cavallaro Group.
At its extraordinary meeting on Wednesday March 8, Council reviewed the report and approval recommendation submitted by Environmental Services manager Lacey Latham as well as the community feedback it had received.
Five members of the public addressed the meeting with concerns regarding neighbourhood disturbance; heritage destruction, economic sustainability and environmental impact.
The proposal involves the relocation of the existing IGA supermarket to a new purpose built 1,997 square metre site incorporating a supermarket, liquor outlet and car park for 47 vehicles.
Three existing sheds and part of a commercial building will be demolished however the current craft shop, op shop and saddlery buildings will be maintained.
The location of five underground fuel tanks behind the existing saddlery building was raised as a concern by Mr Norm Bazeley at last Wednesday’s meeting..
Mr Bazeley said that he had submitted a bid to buy the site but was told to ‘walk away’ by his engineering consultants owing to the potential problems it presented.
“There was a service station on the land behind Brady’s Saddlery many years ago, before fuel was unleaded,’ Mr Bazeley said.
“I have spoken with the Environmental Protection Authority in Armidale, and they have confirmed that soil testing will need to be done, and if any contamination is found, then all the affected soil will need to be removed before construction can begin.
“The old fuel tanks will also need to be inspected and either filled in with concrete or removed, depending on their condition.”
Mr Bazeley said he was not against the development, just concerned that there was no mention of soil testing and the presence of fuel tanks in the development application.
Walcha Council has placed the development application on public display for 28 days.