Green light for Woolies store at Woolgoolga

Raj Mahal at Woolgoolga on the Pacific Highway Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate.
Raj Mahal at Woolgoolga on the Pacific Highway Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate. Coffs Coast Advocate

WOOLGOOLGA Retail Group spokesman Angus Witherby failed in his last-ditch attempt to halt council development approval for a new Woolworths supermarket and liquor outlet on the old Raj Mahal site last week.

The DA was approved unanimously at Thursday's Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.

Mr Witherby, a retail planner, addressed the meeting, saying the proposal represented 'the worst of all possible worlds' in terms of planning for future shopping in Woolgoolga. He also said an Essential Economics study showed it would adversely affect Moonee Beach as well.

"It doesn't represent a new, long-term town centre for an expanded Woolgoolga; it will create ongoing pressure for ad-hoc further rezonings and change as specialty shops pressure to locate next door so as to survive; it doesn't support the current Beach St 'core'," he said.

Mr Witherby appealed to the councillors to consider refusing the liquor component, even if the supermarket was approved, saying there was nothing in the Local Environment Plan definition of a supermarket which mentioned liquor.

Cr Sally Townley said the council had agreed to fund a town study for Woolgoolga to resolve some of the areas of concern.

Mr Witherby said while this was pleasing, it was 'a little after the horse has bolted' and retailers would struggle to play catch-up especially with the 'other hit' from the highway by-pass.

The motion to approve the Woolworths DA, including the liquor outlet, was moved by Cr John Arkan, seconded by Cr Keith Rhoades who said rezoning had been done by the previous owners of the land and there was no land in the downtown Woolgoolga area suitable for a supermarket.

Cr Rhoades said he had never seen a project have so much community support over the years, including a petition from residents collected by the late Graham Hanley which had received 90% support.

Cr Arkan said residents wanted the supermarket and it was needed to allow the area to grow.

Topics:  raj mahal woolgoolga woolworths

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