Proposed construction of a 24/7 Coles Express service station in Bacchus Marsh won’t go ahead, and residents who fought against the project are chalking it up as a win.
Last week, Moorabool councillors voted unanimously to stand by their decision of last month to rescind the permit granted to Abacus Property for a service station on the south-east corner of Gell and Bennett streets.
There are five existing petrol stations in Bacchus Marsh, with residents lobbying against the proposal to build another.
On social media, former Moorabool mayor Pat Griffin praised the council’s decision to reject the permit, saying it was “a small victory for the community”.
He believed putting a service station at that location would have been a short-sighted decision for the town.
“A number of sensitive spots close to that area include schools, churches and disability services,” Mr Griffin said.
“The impact of increased traffic to this area needs to be considered.”
Gell Street resident Peter Richards told councillors the proposed development raised issues such as traffic congestion, increased noise, lighting and signage visibility, increased crime and safety.
A petition signed by 1607 people opposed to the petrol station helped the residents’ cause.
East ward councillor Allan Comrie did not take part in the council’s discussions or vote about the service station. He declared a conflict of interest because he owns a petrol station in Bacchus Marsh.
This was the second knockback for the developers. Councillors early last month rescinded the planning permit granted for the service station on the grounds that the proposal needed to be advertised more widely to give the community ample opportunity to respond.
After that vote, signage was erected at the site to notify residents of the proposal.
Town planner Jarrah Lukjanov, of Sphere Planning, representing Abacus Property, said the necessity for the service station was driven by commercial demand.
“Coles Express considers there is an ample demand to justify the proposed service station,” he said.
“It’s clear that there are elements of the community that oppose this proposal, but we haven’t heard from the people who are going to use it and there are a lot of them.
“Most of the issues raised all relate to a little old country town that’s turning into a big town. There’s always going to be some conflicts when you’re dealing with the boundary of residential areas and town centres.”
Abacus Property has yet to decide whether it will take the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.