Bunnings plan has no major benefits for locals, judge says
A HARDWARE company's bid to get a contentious Coolum project approved has been thrown out.
The Bunnings proposal splintered local opinion after the company wanted to build a warehouse, servo and restaurant at Barns Lane, near Coolum State School.
One plan included a 5850sqm warehouse and the other proposed warehouse was 8600sqm.
Sunshine Coast Regional Council has repeatedly spurned the retailer's plans at Barns Lane.
Bunnings has repeatedly appealed, and the dispute went to the Planning and Environment Court in Brisbane.
"This is the last throw of the dice," the company's barrister Danny Gore told Judge William Everson during the appeal last month.
In his judgment delivered on Friday, Judge William Everson said several issues were in dispute.
Those issues included the impact on existing businesses, impacts on the visual landscape, and the proposed scale, intensity and function of the development.
Judge Everson said the court had to ask if other Bunnings stores on the Coast were already meeting customer demand.
Economist Marcus Brown told the appeal local residents already had access to hardware stores, including Bunnings at Maroochydore and Noosaville.
In his decision, Judge Everson agreed that locals could satisfy their hardware needs at existing, accessible stores.
But Bunnings also argued the proposed developments would be beneficial for traffic, because Barns Lane and the Yandina-Coolum Road roundabout would be upgraded if the development was approved.
The judge was not persuaded.
He said any "incidental benefits" to traffic didn't "justify the extreme conflicts" the development would have with the local superseded planning scheme.
Traffic benefits would be temporary anyway, Judge Everson said.
The judge said the retailer's proposals "opportunistically seek to place a large stand-alone Bunnings Warehouse ... where such a use is not intended to be".
He said the development would unacceptably impact the Coolum Beach Mitre 10 hardware shop.
No grounds put forward were on balance sufficient to justify approving either proposed development, the judge added.
Both appeals by Bunnings against the council were dismissed.
Afterwards, Bunnings general manager of property Andrew Marks said the company was "disappointed" with the decision, and would evaluate its options. - NewsRegional