Shopping expansion bid blocked

Moorabool council have rejected a planning application to modify The Village Bacchus Marsh.

Liam McNally

Moorabool council has rejected a planning application to modify The Village Bacchus Marsh Shopping centre.

The proposal included a double storey commercial building on Bennett Street, intended for office space, a new east-west road access way near Gell Street, and a 1100 square metre retail premises over most of the existing car park near main street.

The proposal drew 27 objections during public exhibition and Elms Medical Centre general practitioner Dr Woodrow Wu spoke in opposition to the application at council’s June 7 meeting.

He said the proposal gas the potential to limit pedestrian access, as well as a reduction of car park space including the removal of disabled access parking and emergency vehicle parking.

“The proposal will cause disadvantage to patients of the Elms Family Medical Centre due to issues of safety, access, parking, visibility, and amenity,” he said.

“It will disadvantage users of the Bacchus Marsh CBD by worsening traffic flow and diminishing parking availability.”

A patient of Elms, Richard Bradfield, agreed with Dr Wu.

“We’re older patients in our late 70’s and we need to have that access there, it’s convenient, we can drop off in dedicated parking spaces for people visiting the Elms clinic,” he said.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen if Elms has to move or something like that, there’s a lot of patients like us, older people that have been going to that clinic for over ten years and it’s going to be very difficult if things are changed.”

A council report recommending against the application said the proposal “would contribute to local commercial infrastructure and economic growth through expanded retail and commercial offerings and creation of additional job opportunities”.

“However, growth must be balanced with the need for new development to respond positively to its local context, including urban design and amenity,” it said.

“The proposed layout and design of the development would compromise pedestrian safety and amenity and does not adequately address the need for safe and convenient car parking and vehicle access.”