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Gentleman calls in Coles’ $70 million development proposal at Dickson shops

Ian Bushnell 11 July 2019 22

The Coles mixed-use development in Dickson has been given the green light. Images: Supplied.

The proposed Coles supermarket and mixed-use development at Dickson shops is set to go ahead with Planning and Land Management Minister Mick Gentleman using his call-in powers to give the controversial project the green light.

Work is expected to start on the $70 million project in the next six months and take about two years to complete. It is sited on 7866 square metres of open car park opposite Woolworths and the Dickson Library, on the corner of Antill and Badham Streets.

It was Coles’ second attempt at the development, with the first proposal overturned in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal last year after objections from the community.

The decision heads off another potentially protracted battle over the development which had been opposed by supermarket rival Woolworths and its landlord Charter Hall.

It was generally considered that the redrafted proposal was a more people-friendly development that endeavoured to address community concerns, but there were still worries about temporary off-site parking during construction, traffic management and the preservation of the Dickson Library, which the Minister says have been taken into consideration.

Mr Gentleman said that with the area’s population growing the decision to call in the project would provide certainty to residents and business owners in the area, more than four years after the original development application was submitted.

“Public feedback has informed the new development’s design, which will create better public spaces in the centre,” Mr Gentleman said.

Coles proposed a two to seven-storey mixed-use development with 140 residential units, the one supermarket instead of two, and other ground floor retail and commercial tenancies, podium car park, and two levels of basement car parking. Office space previously planned was dropped.

Mr Gentleman said the development fitted with the Government’s planning strategy by providing more housing choices close to the light rail and the city.

The second design was considered to have provided a better public realm.

He said more than 655 permanent car parks would be created at the centre, 183 for residents and 472 commercial, as well as improved footpaths and landscaping.

“Hundreds of jobs will be created during construction along with 164 retail jobs once the development is complete demonstrating my commitment to supporting local jobs,” he said.

The ACAT found in 2018 that the original proposal did not meet requirements of site planning and urban design, and did not provide an efficient, safe and attractive urban environment, with an insufficient streetscape and poor landscaping. Nor did it provide sufficient traffic and pedestrian safety or a safe and attractive shared zone.

It also found that the proposal did not respect the urban setting of the heritage-registered Dickson Library and provide a sufficient buffer zone. Coles went to the Supreme Court but those proceedings were adjourned.

The building at its full height will reach 24 metres, and the units will be a mix of studio, one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom dwellings.

The second proposal provides a much better public realm than the first and is a noticeably kinder design, with more attractive street fronts, curved corners, greater landscaping, better street lighting and improved access for pedestrians and cyclists.

There is also a minimum 10-metre buffer between the building and the Library.

The original development application of 12 December 2014 was for a seven-storey development containing two supermarkets and other ground floor and first floor commercial tenancies, 155 residential units, two levels of basement car parking, a podium level carpark and associated works off-site.

This was revised to 140 units, with changes to floor plans and building elevations.


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22 Responses to
Gentleman calls in Coles’ $70 million development proposal at Dickson shops
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JS2590 11:31 am 12 Jul 19

Good! We desperately need shopping facilities in Dickson. Dickson Woolies is the busiest in Australia. Shame it does not have not Aldi… but yes, let it get started asap 🙂

11:08 am 12 Jul 19

It seems to be a pattern that community get only one chance to appeal a bad design then the developer goes to the Minister and claims the call in is needed. Thus ensuring no community input on the next iteration of a bad design. If the design was so good why not put it through the consultation process? Fear of it not being that good really. And to think developers don't know this and use this as a strategy shows how inept our Ministers advisors are. So much for democratised planning processes.

7:27 am 12 Jul 19

Yay! Another fugly façade!

6:22 am 12 Jul 19

Great! Now he can do the same for Manuka and agree to the removal of one incorrectly planted tree to allow the hotel/cinema project to progress and breathe some life into business there.

3:11 am 12 Jul 19

No Aldi?

9:02 pm 11 Jul 19

Congratulations to the many locals who forced the development to improve over its original plans

8:35 pm 11 Jul 19

Good. Dickson woolies is understaffed, in poor condition and is expensive. Dickson also needs more grocery competition and car parks

7:36 pm 11 Jul 19

Jenni this is what I was talking about today

7:34 pm 11 Jul 19

Why is a Labor Government not acting in the interests of the community. Better Coles sets up business in newer developing areas than be top heavy with supermarkets in the inner north. Think of Lyneham and O’Connor precincts that need to keep local customers.

    8:04 pm 11 Jul 19

    Kerry Dent there’s already a Woolies there tho.. 🤔

    8:48 pm 11 Jul 19

    Kerry Dent what nonsense! They are acting in the best interest of the community in getting this moving. We’ve been waiting years for this. There is nothing in this decision that stop coles (or anyone else) opening another store.

    8:58 pm 11 Jul 19

    Considering land in Lyneham and O’Connor being limited, as well as it’s positioning in the centre of the inner north and on the Light Rail corridor having a Coles at Dickson is the best option. Having lived in Dickson the one supermarket is already overcrowded during peak times (also one of the most expensive woollies to shop at), and the increasing development of the Northbourne Avenue corridor and in the Dickson group centre makes the chosen site perfect for it. From what I’ve seen it’s only a small group of residents (mainly older and unrepresentative of the diverse Dickson community) who have been most stridently opposed to this.

    The plans aren’t perfect but the area is expected to see massive population growth in the following decade and it’s important we meet these demands now rather than playing catch-up in the future

    9:00 pm 11 Jul 19

    Pat Dollard thanks - agree 100%

    9:04 pm 11 Jul 19

    The only real complaint about this from people on the radio todays was parking. Thats a temporary shortage also as there will be more parking afterwards. Car parking is a problem now, but no one is going to build a multistory carpark without the Supermarket and residential/commercial space above it. Most of the business owners interviewed said it would bring more people to the shops which meant more potential business for them. Very few people see this as a bad idea.

    10:30 am 12 Jul 19

    There aren't actually many big supermarkets in the Inner North at all? I have more of them close by in my new development now than I had when I lived in Watson.

    1:53 pm 12 Jul 19

    Elroy Jones That’s right, with a Woolies there they don’t need a Coles.

    1:56 pm 12 Jul 19

    Pat Dollard - Oh yes, it does get over crowded at peak times. 😟 I just hope that Lyneham and O’Connor shopping areas get to stay vibrant with patronage.

    7:32 am 13 Jul 19

    Kerry Dent the only way existing centres will decline is IF people change their shopping habits.

    And if they choose Dickson over Lyneham or O’Conner then quite clearly those centres are not providing the shopper what the shopper wants.

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