McKellar shops development refused

A proposal for a predominantly residential development at the McKellar shops has been refused by the Minister for Planning and Land Management under ‘call-in’ powers.

“The ACT Government is committed to getting the balance right between building new homes for Canberrans to live in and protecting the liveability of the places many already call home,” Minister Gentleman said.

“The proposal in question sought to develop two buildings on the 2,145m² site at McKellar shops. One of the buildings would have comprised of 14 residential units, a mixture of three and four storeys, facing Dumas Street, with the other proposed building being a small retail premises.

“While the bottom storey of the block of units could have been used for professional service shopfronts or residential purposes, the proposed design of the building would have changed the character of the Dumas Street frontage to look residential.

“Local shops are the heart and soul of their suburbs and while the McKellar shops don’t have as many retail or commercial offerings right now as we’d like, we do not want to limit the precinct’s potential for the future.

“The reality is that if this development was built and the units sold off to a series of individual owners and managed under a body corporate, it would be very difficult to redevelop or expand the site down the track, let alone attract suitable commercial tenants. This is because of the rezoning that would be required.

“Furthermore, the development application didn’t have enough car parking to accommodate the would-be residents of the proposed buildings, let alone offer users of the local shops somewhere to park.

“The ACT Government is absolutely committed to increasing housing stock within existing suburbs, which we call ‘infill’, but it has to be done carefully.

“As Canberrans know, we have finite space within our existing suburbs. We must use the planning system to maximise the commercial, residential and recreational gains of every new development in balance with protection of the character, environmental values and amenity of suburbs.

“After careful consideration of the proposal, the views of the proponent and those of local residents, I am firmly of the belief that this development would not be in the long-term best interest of McKellar.

“The ACT Government would welcome a revised design for this site that responds better to the future needs of McKellar and optimises the full potential of the site,” Minister Gentleman said.

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