By Brendan Rees
Casey Council has rejected an application to open a mixed-use building consisting of a cafe, food and drink premises, medical centre and dwellings in High Street, Berwick.
The plans from Morgan Development Group Pty Ltd proposed to build a three-storey mixed-use building in addition to five townhouses at 126 and 128 High Street.
The 12-metre high proposal also included a basement for services, plant room and storage for the dwellings, as well as 20 car spaces – within 200 metres of Berwick Village.
But council officers argued the plans presented a “visually dominant and unsympathetic built form,” and was located inappropriately outside of the Berwick Major Activity Centre which did not “respectively consider the surrounding existing and future residential area”.
At their 7 November meeting, councillors voted to not issue a notice of a decision to grant a permit for development on the grounds it did not “add value to the residential character of the area”.
Casey manager of statutory planning and building services Duncan Turner said the decision to refuse the application was based on an assessment against the requirements of the Casey Planning Scheme and consideration of all written objections.
“Council determined that the proposed development would be visually dominant, unsympathetic to the neighbourhood, would adversely impact on the amenity of the area, and was contrary to the requirements of the Casey Planning Scheme,” he said.
“While there is importance in creating a ‘job-rich urban environment’, the proposal is located in an established residential area outside of Berwick Village,” a council document stated.
According to the document, council believed it was important to protect the site’s distinctive “canopy tree character, sense of openness and dominance of the landscape setting”.
Council, however, did support the component of five townhouses but “the proposal is considered to not achieve the applicable objectives in order to strengthen this green treed image and ‘special character’”.
Council’s Waste and Recycling Department also do not support the proposal whereby an amended waste management plan would have been required “given the location of the waste collection bay as a shared bay for visitor parking”.