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$40m retail complex plan

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February 08, 2018

Ritchies IGA chief executive Fred Harrison is opposed to proposals for a neighbourhood shopping centre in Cobram, saying it would negatively impact the town's central retail shopping hub.

A community meeting about a proposed Cobram shopping centre will take place in the town next week.

Developers Tipalea Partners will share information about the development, detailing everything from jobs, to timing and design, as well as offering a chance for the community to provide feedback.

The $40 million neighbourhood retail centre could open as early as 2020 if approved, and would offer a full-line supermarket, a small supermarket, medical services, banks, discount stores, cafes, fresh produce and takeaway food.

The development is proposed at the vacant Colgan St site, and is said to revitalise the entry point into the town, as well as create more than 200 construction jobs and 200 ongoing jobs in the town.

Tipalea Partners chief executive Scott Spanton will lead the meeting.

Mr Spanton said it was important the community was given a chance to express its views at the coming meeting.

‘‘We want the community to tell us what it needs and wants,’’ he said.

‘‘A retail centre is a core part of local infrastructure and we believe its development should be an open and transparent process.’’

Mr Spanton said community feedback through the development’s Facebook page had been positive so far, but the proposal had received some opposition from the community.

In a letter to Moira Shire Council and circulated across the town, Ritchies Stores claimed a new shopping centre would siphon business away from the existing retail centre and local businesses.

Ritchies’ chief executive Fred Harrison said the council was attempting to sneak the development past the community.

Mr Harrison said the town’s Ritchies IGA would be one of the shops that would be hit hard by a new shopping centre in Cobram.

‘‘One of the strengths of Cobram is the strong central retail shopping centre and to start a breakaway group is just not in the town’s best interest,’’ he said.

The council will discuss the planning scheme rezoning amendment and permit application, which will kickstart the next step of the planning process, if approved.

The first community meeting will be at 7pm on Thursday, February 15, at the Cobram Civic Centre.

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