VCAT approves Kyneton Bunnings

The corner of Edgecombe Road and Pipers Creek Road. (Damjan Janevski)

Elsie Lange

Macedon Ranges council (MRSC) said it was “disappointing” a Bunnings is now on the way to the outskirts of Kyneton, after being given the green light by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

In September last year, Macedon Ranges council knocked back two separate proposals for land at the intersection of Edgecombe Road and Pipers Creek Road, which included detailed plans for a Bunnings Warehouse.

Council received more than 500 objections to the proposal last year.

The decision was appealed at VCAT, and while the proposal for a service station and attached McDonalds at the same location is still pending, the tribunal granted a permit to construct a building, put up signs and create access and parking for Bunnings.

MRSC planning and environment director Rebecca Stockfeld said council had blocked the planning application for a range of reasons which had not been addressed by the VCAT decision.

“The proposal had detrimental amenity impacts, a poor design and interface with its surrounds, inadequate landscaping, removal of native vegetation, and poor layout for pedestrians within the car-parking and access areas,” Ms Stockfeld said.

“The VCAT decision to approve the development with little change to the design is disappointing.

“The approved Bunnings will have a generic design, similar to many others in large cities, rather than responding to the unique character of Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges.”

A spokesperson from one of the four respondents to the VCAT hearing, the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group, said they could not comment at this stage as an appeal for the second proposal was still underway.

At the council meeting in September last year, mayor Jennifer Anderson said developers for both applications had not met the necessary standards for approval.

“We are now declared an area of distinction and landscape, and we have a standard of planning policy and we must look at when we look at any application. It is mandated upon every authority to do so, and the officers have assessed this application against that and feel that it doesn’t meet all those criteria,” Cr Anderson said last year.

Ms Stockfeld said council would “continue to push for new developments to comply with the design standards incorporated within the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme” into the future.