By Jeremy Sollars
Neighbours adjoining a massive commercial and retail development approved by the Southern Downs Regional Council for the southern end of Albion Street near the intersection with Wood Street in Warwick still have the right to appeal conditions of the approval.
Councillors at their June monthly meeting approved the plan by local builder and developer Matthew Collins for the project to be branded ‘Albion Central’, comprising a range of potential uses listed in application documents as a “shop, office, showroom, food and drink outlet, low impact industry, health care services, entertainment activity and garden centre”.
The development will see the removal of existing residences at 74-80 Albion Street and an adjoining residence to the rear at 23 Oak Avenue.
Nearby residents’ concerns related primarily to the height and scale of the proposed development and potential impacts of stormwater drainage on neighbouring properties but a number were understood to be supportive, providing the council set appropriate conditions.
Another area of concern for surrounding residential properties is the proposed traffic access to the site, which would in part be from the relatively narrow Oak Avenue, which public submissions stated is effectively a “single-lane” roadway.
Concept drawings and plans provided to the council and the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) as part of the application indicated the development would comprise relatively large-scale ‘showroom’ style buildings fronting Albion Street.
These would surround a central carparking area comprising a total of 64 parking spaces, with a “primary” “left-in, left-out” access driveway on Albion Street, and a “secondary” and “all movements” access driveway on Oak Avenue.
Adjoining property owner Wayne Lawler said he would consider his appeal options but this week told the Free Times an increased three-metre setback of the development from the northern boundary of his heritage-listed ‘Aberfoyle’ home at the corner of Albion and Wood Streets was welcomed, along with the reduction of the new building adjoining that boundary to a single storey.
But he said he would be interested to see which businesses would eventually occupy the development, which has the potential for up to 20 tenancies of between 50 and 300sqm, especially with plans afoot to re-develop the former Bunnings site on Palmerin Street, and some 15 vacant retail premises in the main Warwick CBD.
The Brisbane-based owners of the former Bunnings site are taking it to the market for sale or lease with the intention of offering four new retail tenancies and possibly a café.