Store plans stalled

By Rebecca Fraser
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a BiLo supermarket at Spring Square in Hallam have been handballed to the new Casey Council.
A decision will now be made on the development after a new council is elected in November.
The delay came amid concern that the milliondollar development at Freeway Sports Centre in Doveton and the construction of a large supermarket in Hallam may kill off local shops.
This week, Myuna Ward councillor Brian Oates said the community needed to be better informed about the impact the Freeway Sports Centre development would have on local shops before a final decision was made.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Cr Oates successfully moved that a recent report, conducted by MacroPlan consultancy group, on the social and economic impact of the Freeway Sports development be made public before a decision was taken.
The impact statement discusses, among other things, the effect the development may have on the Spring Square shopping strip and other nearby shopping areas.
Cr Oates said it was important that the community understood these issues before a final decision was sought.
“I wanted the community to become aware of what was going and what impact the Freeway development may have on nearby shopping strips and Spring Square,” he said.
“It might just be too much for the area and may end up taking away from the strip shops.
“When I was first elected to council the strip shops were virtually disseminated.
“Now there is a lot of interest in strip shops and I would not want to see this change.
“I just want to keep things on an even keel.”
The proposed supermarket has already generated a great deal of community concern and anger within the Hallam community — particularly over its location.
The parkland touted as the supermarket site was originally donated to the Berwick Council, now Casey, in 1958 by Molly Buckley when her family’s property was divided.
Mrs Buckley’s daughter Jean Skidmore told the News on 30 June that the land had been donated on the condition that it would be used for community use only, not commercial use.
“If the community is against it we are against it,” she said at the time.
Hallam resident Betty Keen said the area was not big enough to accommodate a large supermarket.
“I am worried about the traffic and parking — it will really be like Russian Roulette.
“The smaller supermarket caters for most of our needs just fine away,” she said.
Fellow Hallam resident, Bill Pawley, said the development would not benefit Hallam and may detract from both Spring Square and nearby shopping strips in Doveton who all provided a village atmosphere to local shoppers.
“My main concern is access and traffic congestion and I want the park saved to preserve the local atmosphere.
“They want to bring in people from all over the community to shop here but we cannot cater for them,” he said.