Supermarket Giants Come to Bronte
The hotly contested Woolworths Metro, built on the site of the former Bronte RSL, is set to open in April 2021.
Opposition against the overdevelopment of the RSL site has been ongoing for over nine years, as the site moved between multiple owners.
The application for a store under 500m2 (less than 10% of the size of Woolworths Bondi Junction) was finally approved on April 29, 2020.
Stephen Lightfoot, a spokesperson for Save Bronte, the main arm of opposition against the overdevelopment of the former RSL site said the group was disappointed that more care wasn’t given to community consultation and protecting the local economy.
“The shop keepers are an integral part of our community and we are very concerned about their future. We are calling on all our supporters to continue to patronise our local shops in order to help them survive the arrival of a large national supermarket chain in our Neighbourhood Centre,” Dr Lightfoot told The Beast.
Save Bronte highlighted concerns that the economic climate created by COVID-19 will not allow for extra competition between businesses in Bronte, but these concerns do not appear to have been considered by Waverley Council in their approval.
Waverley Council has previously spoken to The Beast about the constraints of planning law for the Local Planning Panel.
“Sometimes issues raised by the community fall outside matters covered by the LEP or DCP. The Panel cannot refuse a development application if there are no planning reasons that could support the refusal,” a council spokesperson said.
While the opening of a Woolworths Metro would certainly aid less mobile Bronte residents, the community raised valid concerns about the traffic impact and disruption of the economic hierarchy in the Bronte local area.
“The decision to allow a large supermarket chain at the Bronte RSL site, in spite of significant community opposition, shows that there is an urgent need for the NSW Government to give local communities and their representatives a real say in planning decisions and development applications that affect their neighbourhoods,” Dr Lightfoot told The Beast.
Local institutions such as the Friendly Store on Macpherson street are unlikely to be able to compete with a Woolworths Metro.
The metro will also include a café, bakery counter and hot food options, generating direct competition not only with convenience stores but local cafes too.
Under the approved plans the metro will trade from 7 am-10 pm, with two daily deliveries at a loading dock on Macpherson street.
For the 11m trucks to access the loading docks, they will have to drive down the notoriously narrow Bronte Road past Bronte beach.
A similar proposal for a Woolworths metro in Mosman was knocked back by Mosman Council on the grounds that it would create too much traffic and was against community wishes. Woolworths has now taken the decision to the Land and Environment court.
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