Down to business


CLARENCE council will engage an outside consultant to prepare a retail strategy for Maclean.

After meetings between councillors, council staff and Maclean business representatives, it was decided the town was in need of a plan to provide guidelines to follow when making future development decisions.

Valley mayor Ian Tiley said the strategy was an important step forward.

"What this does is give us something to hang our hat on in terms of the decision-making process," he said.

"This strategy will give council a tool to enable it to make informed decisions on development applications we know will come forward," he said.

A report presented to councillors at Tuesday's meeting stated: Council needs a coherent framework to guide its decision-making on these proposals. This is particularly important as council, being a landowner in some of the proposals, potentially has a financial interest in the outcome. Hence, an independently prepared strategy is considered essential prior to council being in a position to determine these applications.

The strategy is expected to take approximately six months to complete at a cost of between $30,000 and $40,000.

The report stated issues needing to be considered included the existing and future demand over 10 years of the Maclean retail catchment, potential locations for retail expansion, merits of alternative locations and the relationship between Yamba and Grafton retail catchment areas.

Cr Tiley said business representatives at a meeting with council detailed what they believed was important to Maclean's retail future.

"The bottom line for most people was that they want to keep the Maclean main street and CBD area alive and whatever happens in terms of future development must not kill-off existing businesses," Cr Tiley said.

SPAR Maclean owner Bob Little, who was at the meeting, said it was comforting for businesses to know council was moving in a direction to safeguard the town. It was important councillors had a strategy.

"In the end we are trusting this organisation with the futures of our businesses. There are nine people making decisions on the town's livelihood and it is a big respons bility for them," he said.

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