The developer of Rapids Landing estate in Margaret River says the proposed expansion of the soon-to-be-built shopping centre will provide opportunities for stronger retail tenancies to be established on the site.
Residents in the area were recently advised by the Shire of Augusta Margaret River that an application had been made to increase the existing structure plan of 5,805sqm to a total of 7,800sqm.
The Shire is seeking comment from residents prior to making a recommendation to council.
Lester Group Executive Director Stuart Lester said the amendment would see the area designated for a supermarket - previously planned to be 1,500sqm - expand to 3,580sqm.
"In a nutshell, the existing approval doesn't provide for the needs of the expanding community," Mr Lester told the Mail this week.
"In the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in local population in the wider Margaret River area, as well as Rapids Landing.
Our research has found that the shopping centre we had planned, with a limited range supermarket and handful of speciality retailers, wouldn't be the best outcome for locals.Stuart Lester, Lester Group
"Our research has found that the shopping centre we had planned, with a limited range supermarket and handful of speciality retailers, wouldn't be the best outcome for locals.
"Our proposal, before the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, seeks to improve on what we have planned, by including space for a full-line supermarket and a greater selection of speciality stores.
"The amended plan would give us the floor space that the bigger supermarkets - Coles and Woolworths for example - require to commit to a tenancy."
Mr Lester said the centre would retain a "small shopping precinct feeling" but give locals more choice.
"While we may not get that supermarket tenancy immediately, the space needs to be suitable for them to move in when the time comes."
As well as the notification from the Shire, Mr Lester said Rapids Landing residents would also be provided with a flyer explaining the plans for the centre.
The amendment would also see 1,500sqm of space for specialty shops increased to 3,020sqm, while 2,515sqm of office and commercial space would be reduced to 1,200sqm.
A proposed 290sqm for childcare facilities would be removed from the site.
Mr Lester said the changes would bring the centre into line with other successful community shopping precincts around the State.
"We would ideally like to see a full sized supermarket, a pharmacy, a hair salon at the centre, possibly a liquor store down the track - those shops that locals will visit each day," he said.
Mr Lester said they were aware of the need for a second access road to be constructed and that this would occur in the same stage as the retail site, but that the issue was not as simple as just laying down bitumen.
"When you are talking about building a road, you also need to consider what is going to be on either side of that road all the way from one end to the other - whether that land will be sold or leased, and what it will be used for in the future.
"We need to be able to sell or lease the land next to that road before we can build it.
"There are also services that need to be installed underneath the road, and those services can't be put in retrospectively."
Mr Lester said he was keen to instruct civil engineers as soon as possible to ensure construction of the retail precinct would proceed with minimal delays from wet weather.
"This is something the community has expressed an interest in happening sooner rather than later and we look forward to progressing this in the near future.
"We really need to be appointing civil engineers as soon as possible. We know that a lot of people are wanting to live in this area and demand is high. If the demand wasn't this high, we wouldn't be there pushing forward."
Residents have until 4.00pm Tuesday August 24, 2021 to submit their feedback to the Shire via https://yoursay.amrshire.wa.gov.au/planning-consultation-hub
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