After three years of the planning panel’s disputing over the store’s traffic management plan, the new Bunnings megastore in South Sydney has been given the green light to begin construction.
The Tempe Bunnings will be a new super-sized warehouse store on the Princes’ Highway in Sydney’s inner west. The store had been approved with a local area traffic management plan (LATM) endorsed by the Inner West Council which was then rejected and deferred by the same council’s traffic committee in 2018.
The main concern at the time was using a residential street as the main point of entry into the Bunnings store, which had Tempe residents fighting back against the plans to choke up their local roads. The committee’s decision to defer plans also came with concerns about the lack of traffic lights with residents fearing their narrow streets could turn into dangerous rat runs.
On the 7th of September, last Wednesday, however, the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel gave the store the go-ahead to begin construction with the LATM endorsed after the modification of its application.
The determination by the panel said, “The panel is now satisfied that all relevant preconditions to consent have been satisfied and there is no reason that would warrant refusal of this modification application.”
“The Local Traffic Committee had deferred or failed to decide on the (Inner West) Council’s Officer’s recommendation to approve the independent study and its recommendations, and both the applicant and the community should be able to expect certainty and timeliness in the planning system.”
The determination gives the Bunnings company the go-ahead to start construction, though community members have said the outcome is “extremely disappointing”.
The Daily Telegraph spoke with residents about the news, with resident Jack Breen saying, “This is extremely disappointing news for the Tempe community. Bunnings has successfully used their bulldozer approach to push their way through the NSW planning system to get approval to start their build – opting for the quickest way, rather than the safest way.
“The one silver lining is that the need for a soft closure of Union St from Smith St has been agreed, although this is only addressing part of the challenges that remain about this problematic traffic plan for Bunnings Tempe.”
Mr Breen, like many other residents, feared the potential for dangerous rat runs down surrounding streets would emerge and was also concerned about an unsignalised right-hand turn northbound on the Princes Highways and lack of traffic lights that could also pose dangers to locals as well as traffic.
The determination was welcomed by Bunnings with Chief Property Officer Andrew Marks saying, “We welcome the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel’s decision to approve the LATM for the new Bunnings Tempe store, which we believe is the safest possible solution for local roads.
“Bunnings Tempe represents an investment in the community of approximately 100 million dollars and will create around 200 new jobs for locals.”
Although the determination has been met with mixed reactions, Mr Marks is positive about the future of the megastore with the Tempe community.
He said, “We look forward to being able to progress with the new store which will provide local residents with a wide range of home and lifestyle products, as well as ongoing local community support through hands-on projects, sausage sizzles and product donations.”