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Victory for Village Life - No Woolworths to be built in Erskineville

ERSKINEVILLE residents have claimed victory in their fight to prevent a two-storey Woolworths supermarket being built at the Hive Complex on Erskineville Rd writes Robert Burton-Bradley in the Central of 21 May2008.

The development application for the $6.7 million 2200m sq supermarket, with parking for 27 cars, was rejected by Sydney Council earlier this week.

The council's director of city planning, Giovanni Cirillo, said the application was not consistent with the city's planning controls. "The scale and intensity of the proposed supermarket, additional traffic generated and detrimental impact of this on the area would not respect, improve or enhance the urban village character," Mr Cirillo said.

A Woolworths spokesman said the company would consider the refusal carefully.

Paul Howard from Erskineville Village Friends said the proposal had been flawed "from the start" and, if it had been approved, would have destroyed the village life of Erskineville with traffic, congestion.

"We are very happy, it's been nine long months of fighting," a jubilant Mr Howard said. "The quality of the DA was appalling - it was unbelievable that such an unprofessional document was put together to begin with."

Mr Howard said the comparisons used to other supermarkets owned by Woolworths were misleading as they were smaller in size and had far larger populations within walking distance. He said the supermarket for Erskineville would have only a fraction of its customers living in a 500m radius, meaning the majority would have driven to the area, causing unprecedented congestion.

"I guess Woolworths and the developer did not think it would get the scrutiny it did," he said. The council said it had received 257 objections from the local community and 12 submissions of support for the DA.

Erskineville Village Friends managed to collect more than 4500 signatures on a petition opposing the DA.

Photo: Phil Rogers: A Woolworths could have threatened local businesses and the village life at Erskineville

Source: Central of 21 May2008