Bulahdelah Highway Service Centre Planning Proposal deferred

 

MATTERS referring to the planning proposal of a Bulahdelah Highway Service Centre have been deferred until the new MidCoast Council is elected.

In a recent Council meeting on 24 November, a motion was put forth to adopt the Bulahdelah Highway Service Centre Draft Planning Proposal proposing to build the centre in a 4.4 hectare lot northeast to the Bulahdelah Pacific Highway Interchange.

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This motion was amended by Councillor Karen Hutchinson to be deferred until the new Council.

“There seems to be a bit of a groundswell in Bulahdelah regarding this proposal.

“At one stage, the community appeared to be all for this development however I think that most councillors now are being contacted with grave concerns about it,” Cr Hutchinson said.

This amendment was unanimously voted on by all councillors except Cr Roberts and Cr Smith who declared non pecuniary conflicts of interest.

The planning proposal was endorsed for a Gateway Determination by Council in 2018, receiving the NSW Department of Planning Gateway Determination on 11 July 2019 advising that the proposal not proceed for the following reasons:

1. The proposal is inconsistent with the RMS Pacific Highway Service Centre Policy and the Council’s Great Lakes Highway Service Centre Strategy;
2. The proposal is inconsistent with the Hunter Regional Plan 2036, specifically Direction 4 – enhance inter-regional linkages to support economic growth and Direction 20- revitalise existing communities; and
3. The proposal is inconsistent with section 9.1 Direction 5.4 Commercial and Retail Development along the Pacific Highway, North Coast and Direction 5.10 Implementation of Regional Plans, and the inconsistency is not justified.

An Altered Gateway Determination was received by Council in March 2020 allowing the Planning Proposal to proceed.

Community consultation was undertaken between August and October 2021 with fourteen submissions noting a number of concerns of the development including its impact on Bulahdelah businesses, job loss in the town centre, transparency and probity issues and congestion issues.

 

By Tara CAMPBELL

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