Tweed Shire Council has paved the way for a major service-station complex on the Tweed Coast Road opposite the entry to the Kings Forest township development for 5,000 homes, despite fears it will spoil the road’s scenic values.
Opposing councillors also say giant food outlets major McDonalds or KFC may be sited on the prominent site eventually.
The council last week approved a modification of the concept plan for the Kings Forest subdivision by the Leda Group which allows food and drink premises within a proposed ‘employment land’ area of the project on the eastern side of the Tweed Coast Road.
The development at Cudgen is opposite Depot Road, the proposed entry to the township.
Majority councillors (Warren Polglase, Barry Longland, Phil Youngblutt and Carolyn Byrne) backed the staff recommendation that council raise no objection to the state planning department assessing the project on the proposed change to the permissible use of the land to include food outlets.
But mayor Katie Milne and deputy mayor Gary Bagnall opposed the move, saying it did not accord with the shire planning code for that stretch of road to be part of a Protected Green Belt and would erode scenic values important to the Tweed’s natural character.
Crs Milne and Bagnall said there was already a major service station nearby at Chinderah, existing business centres would be unfairly disadvantaged, and that such a complex should be restricted to areas servicing long-distance travellers.
The development of a major Coles supermarket up the road at Casuarina, they said, had significantly impacted on the integrity of the Tweed Coast Road and surrounding landscape and there was no reason to further erode the scenic drive between Kingscliff and the southern villages of the Tweed Coast.
But shire chief planner Vince Connell described the inclusion of an extra land use for the employment land as minor and that any further proposed use of the site such as service station would be considered later on its merits.
Mr Connell said it was believed Leda wanted to pursue a separate development application (DA) for a major service station on the site, with around six tenancies and eating area included.
Mr Connell said this ‘may change when Leda seeks approval for the land use, but the current modification proposal only seeks approval for the strategic exercise to change the adopted Development Code to allow a new use to be permissible’.
Kings Forest development manager Reg Van Rij told council’s community access session before the meeting last week that councillors should not assume the service station would provide fast food, as it ‘could be for an Italian restaurant’.
Cr Milne said the plans for the service station ‘show a McDonalds, KFC and Subway and drive thru similar to Chinderah’, but Leda told council ‘there is no intention to have a fast food outlet without a service station. We would have no concern about a condition to that effect’.
In its submission, Leda said ‘It makes little planning sense to separate the preparation and sale of food or drink for immediate consumption, from land uses in which they are frequently associated (such as service stations, garden centres, internet cafes and offices). The omission of “food and drink premises” from the Kings Forest Development Code’s precinct development matrix appears to be nothing more than an oversight. The proposed change is justified’.
In his report, Mr Connell said ‘the green corridor along Tweed Coast Road has been interrupted with the State Government approval for the Casuarina Town Centre which incorporated a new Coles development on the corner of Tweed Coast Road and the newly erected traffic lights at Grand Parade as established vegetated that had shielded the development from Tweed
Coast Road has now been removed.’
‘Furthermore, the rezoning of Kings Forest under the Major Project SEPP 2005 authorised that part of Kings Forest on the eastern side of Tweed Coast Road to be used for development purposes when the earlier Tweed DCP Section B9 indicated a preference for this part of Kings Forest to be environmentally protected,’ he said.
‘Historically, Council has attempted to retain the existing vegetated setting along Tweed Coast Road, with the Casuarina and Salt developments originally being shielded from Tweed Coast Road with significant vegetation where possible.’