Local shopping centers can have large supermarkets designed to increase their credibility and open growth.
According to Mick Gentleman, Minister of Planning and Land Management, the change will be a draft variation of the regional plan, raising the floor area of supermarkets from 1,000 square meters to 1,500 square meters and making it easier for local centers to acquire a supermarket.
The developer behind the Jiralong stores project, which has been bubbling over the issue for years and stumbled upon by its inability to attract a large supermarket, has called for the change along with the Jiralong Residents Action Group.
Nicos Diamond director Dmitry Nicos said change was needed in March, so development could be more competitive with Culin stores, which enjoy a more supermarket base.
“This is a simple and very welcome initiative by the government to greatly enhance the opportunities for attracting a suitable anchor tenant,” Mr Nikias said.
The Combs community will welcome the change, which will increase the chances of local stores still vacant to attract a supermarket, and small businesses will follow suit.
Without the change, Coombs will not be able to compete with Coco Molonglo Development, which is right next to the center, which will boast two 1500 square meters of supermarket space.
“Local centers like Jiralong, Coombs and McKeller are struggling, shops are empty and community spaces are underdeveloped,” Mr Gentleman said.
“Although we have a number of affluent local centers in Canberra, this change aims to help suburban stores that have stalled growth in the issues of attracting a supermarket tenant.
“Conferences love their local stores. They help transform a suburb into a community, bringing services and jobs to the center of a page, and we’re especially aware of the importance of these centers during COVID epidemics.”
Jiralong Stores Saga goes back 15 years, has been involved in legal proceedings in the High Court, and in 2018 Mr Gentleman used his calling powers to approve Nikki Diamond’s application for promotion.
But the construction site was halted last year because a national supermarket could not find a tenant, and the matter was brought before an assembly committee this year.
At Coombs, the developer took a long time to complete the project and then failed to attract tenants, banning a small Indian grocery store.
The community blamed the planning process for allowing developer Renato Cervo to continue the lease, despite leading to an empty shopping center and white elephant.
The minister’s action will go some way to resolving the situation, but time will tell whether it will suffice.
The draft variation suggests that in recent times, the reliability and competitiveness of local centers has been called into question.
“With the change in social and consumer behavior, especially after COVID-19, the role of local centers in our urban fabric is changing,” it says.
DV318 will have an interim effect, meaning the new rule will apply immediately.
You can see and comment on the changes ACT Planning Website.