Macksville's Woolworths is approved

THE final hurdle preventing Woolworths coming to Macksville fell last week when the NSW minister for planning, Kristina Keneally, approved rezoning of the chosen site for commercial use.

The new shopping centre, which will include the supermarket plus five specialty shops, will be built south of the town at the old Golden Emblem Motel site, land previously zoned residential/tourism.

The approval of the development by the Nambucca Shire Council in June last year was controversial with opposition from both residents, objecting to the effect a large supermarket and associated traffic would have on their quiet suburban streets, and local businesses, who said building the complex away from the CBD would split the town's commercial heart.

The council's conditional approval of the project was subject to the minister's final decision.

The council's general manager, Michael Coulter, said the approval would not affect the proposed development at Bellwood of a Coles Supermarket plus 36 specialty shops, which is due for discussion by councillors when they meet tomorrow.

“The planning department's recommended approval of this project was predicated on Woolworths going ahead,” Mr Coulter said.

Approval of the Bellwood project would potentially bring the total number of large supermarkets in the shire to five.

“All this has been taken into account and deemed to be sustainable.

“It will help stem the escape of millions of dollars to Coffs Harbour and Kempsey every year if people can buy what they need locally.”

Questions raised about possible differences of opinion within the department about the suitability of the approval were officially sidestepped yesterday with the following response:

“ In regard to your inquiry about the Macksville supermarket rezoning, the Department made a thorough assessment of the merits of the rezoning, and following this assessment recommended the rezoning to the Minister.”

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