Deadline in doubt

December 08, 2017

An artist’s impression of the proposed Fairleys IGA development, subject to council approval. Council has given owners of Fairley IGA six months to find a second supermarket on the site.

Owners of the Fairleys IGA site have six months to find a tenant for a second full line supermarket on site or risk competition moving in further along Numurkah Rd.

But Fairleys IGA operators said six months was a ‘‘totally unrealistic’’ time frame to work with.

Greater Shepparton City Council has endorsed a number of planning panel findings handed down in relation to its commercial activity centres strategy.

But it deferred consideration of some items to allow the owners of the IGA site a chance to assess the capacity to provide a second supermarket on site and find a committed and signed-up tenant.

The general manager of Michaels IGA, which operates Fairleys IGA, Len Morabito said the situation was frustrating given the timing of the six-month timeframe fell across the holiday period.

He said a year was realistically needed to secure a tenant.

But he remained confident an attempt to meet the deadline would be made.

According to a council strategy, two supermarkets are needed in Shepparton’s north to cater to growth projections.

A planning permit application has been received seeking to develop a Woolworths with an associated packaged liquor store, retail specialty shops, car parking, and advertising signs several hundred metres from the Fairleys IGA.

If evidence the second full line supermarket at the Fairleys site will be operational by May 2020 is received by May next year, the Woolworths proposal can be referred back to the council for reconsideration.

Before last month’s council meeting, officers had recommended the council refuse a stage of the Fairleys IGA complex’s planned expansion relating to a second supermarket.

But its operators had referred applications on to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal before the meeting.

The matter will be heard at VCAT next year.

At last month’s council meeting, some councillors described the six-month period offered as token, argued there was no rush for another supermarket in the neighborhood and said the IGA site remained the ideal location for a second supermarket.

Following the meeting, Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said the council understood the Fairleys IGA site owners wanted to secure another supermarket and that the council was giving them the time to do so.

She said a second supermarket was needed in the northern corridor.

‘‘It’s a matter of us seeing what happens,’’ she said following the meeting.

‘‘It would be great to see some action.

‘‘We have been talking about it for some time, and can’t continue to wait without anything confirmed.’’

The planning panel made a recommendation that if the owners of the IGA site were unwilling to participate in a process to determine their capacity to provide an additional supermarket on their site, their proposed competitor should be approved, a council report read.

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