McDonald’s has lost its latest bid to build a restaurant on the site of the Chisholm Tavern after the fast-food giant’s second-bite proposal was refused by the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) this week.
The $2.2 million proposal was first refused in February, but the landowners, Chisholm Village Pty Ltd, resubmitted the DA in July with a number of variations for the ACT Government to reconsider.
The second proposal was refused on the grounds that the application for reconsideration did not adequately address a number of factors, including the position of the restaurant and potential environmental impacts of waste produced by the proposed business.
Transport Canberra and City Services also noted likely traffic congestion and inadequate clearances for a waste truck.
The ACTPLA decision highlighted concerns about public safety due to congestion from the nearby fire station, BP service station and Vikings Club.
A lack of community consultation, the potential effect of a McDonald’s on local businesses and already existing McDonald’s restaurants in the vicinity were further cited as reasons for the bid’s rejection.
“On the basis of the extent of non-compliance and the uncertainty about the impacts on the adjacent car parking area and associated impacts on the surrounding traffic, it is not considered appropriate to issue a conditional approval,” ACTPLA said in its notice of decision.
“As such, the reconsideration application does not warrant a change from the original decision to refuse the proposal.”
The battle over the site has been raging for more than a year after landowner Chisholm Village first submitted a DA to build a McDonald’s restaurant on the site of the Chisholm Tavern in July 2019.
Both attempts saw significant public petitions against the proposal, with the first attracting more than 770 signatures and the second more than 1000, plus 21 written submissions.
“Thank you to everyone that signed the petition and put in submissions to say no to the plan to demolish the Chisholm Family Tavern and put in a Maccas,” said Member for Brindabella Joy Burch, who had also been vocal against the proposal.
Canberra Progressives Party candidate for Murrumbidgee Robert Knight also weighed in, saying the value of the Chisholm Tavern to the community was significant.
“Too often we sign over our treasured meeting places to commercial interests, and in doing so we lose an aspect of what it is to be a community. We need more places which bring us together, rather than just serve our appetites for a quick, cheap feed,” Mr Knight said.
Manager of the Chisholm Tavern Jennifer Hunt said she would let the news sink in before making a decision on the future of the business.
“We will obviously stay here now, at least for a few more years. At least now we can spend some money on the place,” Ms Hunt said.
Ms Hunt and her husband Graham have run the Chisolm Taven for 29 years. They plan to operate the Tavern for another five years before retiring.
The entire Chisholm Shopping Centre is currently up for sale. The owners hoped a McDonald’s would make the site more attractive to a potential buyer.