Plans to get a KFC into Chisholm Shops have been amended following community criticism as the proponents argue the development is suitable for the area.
Last October, Chisholm Village Pty Limited – the owners of the Chisholm Shops – revealed plans to develop a KFC in the complex in the car park opposite Aldi, a different site from the doomed McDonald’s plans of three years ago.
The proposal immediately drew the ire of local residents who set up a petition to the ACT Legislative Assembly complaining the proposed site was too small, that a fast-food business wasn’t needed and that it would only increase traffic congestion by removing car parks and adding additional traffic.
Not everyone opposed the KFC proposal, however, with many noting the fast food outlet would employ young people in the area. It could also help revitalise the precinct, turning it into a busy hub like nearby Erindale.
Now, Purdon Planning, on behalf of the proponent, has made some amendments to its initial plans. It also used its updated DA to respond to concerns raised during the initial consultation.
Under the changed plans, the proposed western pedestrian link will be removed.
The application said this is being done to minimise conflict points between traffic and pedestrians, minimise points of conflict for vehicles and mitigate clearance issues for a proposed replacement tree.
One tree will also be placed in the space that became available from removing the proposed west pedestrian link “to better avoid reticulated services”.
Throughout the process, 47 separate public representations were received, of which 41 were critical of the plans.
But the proponents responded to many concerns. They argued issues about the sustainability of other local businesses were not part of the planning process and therefore did not require consideration.
“The KFC and all other businesses operate within the market. They are all, therefore, subject to market forces which are out of control of planning regulation,” the report stated.
Arguments relating to the fact that McDonald’s had not been successful were also rejected, with the developers noting each proposal was different.
Issues about the size of the block and removing parking were also dismissed. The developers said the block had been proven large enough through the design process.
An updated traffic report addressed congestion concerns. This report also stated queuing onto the road would not be a concern due to the design of the drive-through, which would be based on a detailed analysis of other KFC drive-through locations.
This report also concluded the path provided by the drive-through was adequate.
At the time, Chisholm Village’s assistant development manager James Tsalikis said he was “deeply disappointed” by attempts to politicise the Territory’s development application.
“We are [also] deeply disappointed by … any suggestion that the Chisholm Village is not an appropriate location for fast food,” he said.
“There are countless examples across the ACT where fast-food businesses have enhanced the retail ecosystem in our group centres, delivering economic and employment opportunities for the broader catchment. We appreciate the support we have received across the community and look forward to an independent assessment of our proposal by the ACT Planning Authority.”
The amended development application is open for public consultation until the end of this month.