News

Cobram Village shopping precinct suffers setback

By Cobram Courier

The proposed Cobram Village shopping precinct has suffered a setback with Planning Panels Victoria recommending against the developer’s rezoning application.

Tipalea, the developers of Cobram Village, had applied for the Colgan St site to be rezoned from Commercial 2 to Commercial 1, which is necessary for the shopping centre to go ahead.

‘‘Very bad news — the panel has rejected the rezoning application. Decision astounds me. Not sure where to go from here. Stay tuned,’’ a Cobram Village Facebook post on June 4 read.

A week later, the page’s admin wrote, ‘‘Also, this decision is not from Council — they have been supporters of this project. It was a State Government-appointed panel that decided Cobram shouldn’t have choice or competition. We will fight.”

The Courier contacted Cobram Village through multiple means, but is yet to receive a response.

Moira Shire Council has pointed out its objection to the recommendations, noting on its website the panel’s report only provided advice with council and Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne to make a decision on the matter in the coming weeks.

‘‘We’re really disappointed in the panel’s recommendation and we know that many residents will feel the same way,” Moira Shire Mark Henderson said.

‘‘The panel effectively says that it may have had a different view if it was just a full line supermarket being proposed on the site.

‘‘But in reality that’s exactly why we needed the rezoning to allow for the supermarket, the rest of the village development was already permitted in the current zone.

‘‘The council doesn’t have to accept the panel’s recommendation and can seek Ministerial approval so the project can go ahead.’’

On Monday, the Courier asked Facebook followers ‘What do you make of Planning Panels Victoria’s recent recommendation against Cobram Village’s rezoning application? Do you believe the proposed precinct would give the town an economic boost or would it further hinder retailers in the CBD?’

As of 1pm yesterday, the post had received 32 likes, six loves, 67 comments and three shares. Of the 29 initial comments - not including replies and people commenting multiple times - 19 comments disagreed with the recommendations, five agreed and five were inconclusive.

‘‘I really do believe that Cobram needs this to grow. If we don’t get some more competition for Woolies then we will stagnate, I believe it won’t have a huge impact on our other retailers. Come on Cobram let’s get behind this,” Olga Parry said against the recommendations.

As did Marina Buchmann, who commented, ‘‘(It would be a) definite boost to Cobram. It’s time Cobram moved forward and provided consumers with a variety of retailers. The reason shops are closing is because people travel to either Shepparton or Yarrawonga to shop.’’

Those who agreed with the recommendations suggested the town would not be able to support the retail centre, including Amber Blower who commented, ‘‘Insane idea. We have so many empty shops and too many competing businesses already.’’

●The full report can be found on the Moira Shire’s website by searching ‘Update — Proposed Cobram Retail Development’.