In neighbouring Erskineville there has been a recent hullabaloo over the planned conversion of the old Sydney Mardi Gras warehouse (also known as the Hive) on Erskineville Road into a Supermarket. A very vocal and effective campaign was waged by the local pressure group 'Village Friends' - their excellent website is worth checking out - and Sydney City Council eventually rejected the application due to traffic issues and the impact on surrounding businesses. The appeal to the Land and Environment Court was also rejected in January this year.
A new Development Application has just been received by Council for a grocery store (far less threatening than a supermarket) on the same site. At first glance it seems that many of the residents' objections have been addressed; the area of the proposed grocery store is less than 900sqm, compared with the 2138sqm of the orginal proposal, and there are only 16 car spaces envisaged. The proposal is only for a single story building which is the same as the existing building, as opposed to the previous double story plans.
The Economic Impact Assessment is the most interesting document submitted as part of the DA, explaining (or at least claiming) that the smaller grocery store will only attract locals and limited passing traffic, rather than being a destination store attracting (car based) shoppers.As anyone who lives in the area can tell you, that part of Erskinevile Road is chockers and most times of the day and really doesn't need any more traffic. Still, at 900sqm the proposed store is only slightly smaller than King Street's Franklins (1200sqm) and Foodworks (1042sqm), neither of which are small 'grocery stores'.
So what do people think ? Does this DA go far enough in meeting the council's requirements ? Is this a positive development for Newtown/Erskineville (technically the Hive is in Newtown although most would consider it part of Erskineville) ? Let me know !