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Woolworths takes fight to Erskinville

THE developer behind a proposed two-storey supermarket for Erskineville has taken the matter to the Land and Environment Court after Sydney Council rejected his development application reports Robert Burton-Bradley in the Central of 11 June 2008.

Supermarket giant Woolworths has confirmed it would be the tenant for the site if the DA is successful.

Developer Harold Finger said he was appealing the council's decision because he felt planning staff who rejected the DA under delegated authority had failed to consider the development on all it's merits, and believed they felt pressured by vocal resident opposition.

"We were shocked about the rejection, having purchased the site and got a reasonable feel from residents and a positive nod from council and traffic planners and after all the consultation we had engaged in," Mr Finger said.

A large number of Erskineville residents have steadfastly opposed the 2200sq m supermarket on the grounds of traffic Increases in what they say is already a heavily congested area.

Resident group Erskineville Village Friends collected more than 4300 signatures in a petition opposing the supermarket. Spokesman Paul Howard said the DA contained flawed and misleading information about where the supermarket's customers would come from and said many would drive there from further afield than Newtown and Erskineville.

"It's going to have a huge impact in traffic, the few thousand people in walking distance would not be enough to support a supermarket of this size," he said.

Mr Finger rejected the claims the supermarket would cause traffic problems.

"This is not a supermarket that is designed for cars," he said.

"It's purely for walk-in customers. There will be some people like the elderly who need to drive, however it's for the Newtown/Erskineville catchment area.

"There are no supermarkets of this boutique style in the area. The other two nearby are very poor and don't offer a full line service and are out-of-date."

A spokesman for Sydney Council said the DA had not met with a number of planning regulations, including amenity, traffic and public interest.

"The City of Sydney will be vigorously defending its refusal of the proposal, particularly given the significant traffic and residential amenity impacts the proposal is likely to have in the neighbourhood," the spokesman said.

Source: Central 11 June 2008