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Community Win As Council Cans Dan Murphy’s Plan

By Marcus Braid on January 12, 2016 in News

Photo: Al Kahol

Photo: Al Kahol

Coogee residents have applauded Randwick Council’s decision to refuse recommendation of the development application for a Dan Murphy’s bottle shop on Brook Street.

The DA seeks to turn the former Randwick Rugby Club into a liquor store and café, and the matter will now head to the Land and Environment Court.

Councillor Murray Matson was unequivocal that another bottle shop wasn’t wanted in Coogee.

“We don’t need another one,” he said. “The Dan Murphy’s would be surrounded by residential property. The only way it is going to get through is if they can find some way of declaring it to be a shop. That’s the only way they can get approval for it.”

Mr Matson said he was baffled by the suggestion the liquor store could be considered a shop for zoning purposes.

“It beats me,” he said. “But the zoning permits shops in that particular area; therefore they are trying to classify their proposal as a shop that sells liquor, or a bottle shop in effect.

“It would have an impact on the surrounding residential area, and the residents are up in arms about it. They are familiar with the effect Randwick Rugby Club has had for many years. It’s not looked on favourably and it’s not a desired outcome on that site for the community.”

Mr Matson said it was important to prioritise community interests.

“I think the community is becoming much more politically divided on it,” he said. “The community should come first, and the hospitality industry should be secondary to that.”

Amanda Moore, a local resident and key community advocate against the proposal, said the community was “totally thrilled”.

“We want to make a big banner saying ‘Thank you Randwick Council’ for listening,” she said. “It’s really tricky with this whole thing because I don’t know how Council will go in the Land and Environment Court.

“It’s a pretty tough battlefield historically for most councils, so you feel hopeful that at least our council is listening to the ratepayers as locals. I don’t know what the answer is from here on in. Hopefully big business might listen to what the community wants as well.”

Ms Moore said it was a highly successful and aggressive campaign.

“I’ve never actively engaged as aggressively campaigning against anything before,” she said. “I did rally a lot of parents from my kids’ schools in the local area.

“There’s just a lot of alcohol available here. There are no restrictions around where you can drink in most of the parks. To a certain degree, if you’re a civilised member of society, that’s kind of nice, but from October until April it’s putrid.”

A spokesperson for Dan Murphy’s said the company “is disappointed by Randwick Council’s decision and will be appealing it in the Land and Environment Court”.