New Chinchilla ‘country style’ servo shot down by council
A tangled mess of bureaucratic red tape has faltered Watkins Group’s plans to build a 24-hour service station and roadhouse eatery, adjacent to the bustling Warrego Highway in Chinchilla.
At a Western Downs Regional Council ordinary meeting in Chinchilla on Wednesday, January 20, all councillors voted in favour not to move ahead with the development application of the brand-new service station allocated for lot 202, Johnson St Chinchilla.
Watkins Group founder Philip Watkins addressed council during the meeting and said the project would have injected between $2.5 and $3 million in construction costs to Chinchilla based contractors and suppliers, as well as local jobs.
“There would be 14 people working at the service station, chefs (and so on), and $600,000 a year for wages for people living in Chinchilla,” he said.
The earthmoving and property businessman said after promising inquiries with relevant State Government officials, and the knowledge that the Chinchilla Shire Council approved a service station for the same land in 2008, prompted him to purchase the two lots.
“This property has always been commercial land…and had previous approval for a much larger 24h truck stop, I did the right thing and reduced the development site footprint by 40 per cent,” he said.
“I also created a (60m) buffer zone between the service station and the adjoining property… the previous (successful) application had no buffer zone at all.”
The born and bred countryman said he’s been living in Chinchilla for over a decade, and his country style roadhouse service station would have delivered indoor and outdoor dining areas for a food and drink outlet shop, laundry facilities, showers, and heavy vehicle, road train and caravan parking facilities.
Some of the reasons why council decided against the application included; its proximity to residential addresses, increase in traffic to adjoining residential streets, it’s location in the Major Centre Zone as it provides no overriding community need to be, and that by running 24h a day it will not protect the amenity and character of the Major Centre Zone and the nearby homes.
A report into the application by council showed the project failed to meet seven codes within the council’s Planning Scheme (2017).
“The proposed development has been assessed against the requirements of the Western Downs Planning Scheme 2017 incorporating Amendment One, (and) it is recommended that the application be refused,” the report read.
Councillor Andrew Smith and Kylie Bourn did not vote on the decision due to personal conflicts of interest.
In the report, council outlines the following points which are inconsistent with relevant codes of the Western Downs Planning Scheme:
• The development of a Service Station is not a consistent use within the Major Centre
•The development is inconsistent with the intent of the Major Centre Zone to provide a
variety of land uses and activities that meet the community’s needs.
•The development is not consistent with Overall Outcome 2 of the Major Centre Zone,
as it will not ensure that land within the Major Centre Zone is used for a broad range of
high order retail, commercial, administrative, community cultural and entertainment
•The development is inconsistent with Overall Outcome 12, as the applicant has not
demonstrated that the development is consistent with the existing character and
amenity of the Major Centre Zone.
•The development does not comply with Overall Outcome 15 of the Major Centre Zone
Code, as the development will increase the volume and scale of traffic using Johnson
Street and the intersection of Ainsworth Street, which will require the local road network
to be upgraded and maintained to a higher standard.
•The development conflicts with Overall Outcome 20 of the Major Centre Zone Code,
as the applicant has not demonstrated that there is an overriding community need for
the development, that justifies the development’s conflicts with the character and
amenity of the Major Centre Zone. Further, the proposal has not provided sufficient
planning justification that the development could not be established on land within a
more appropriate Zone.
•The development does not satisfy Performance Outcome 15 of the Major Centre Code,
as the development will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which is not considered
appropriate to protect the amenity and character of the Major Centre Zone and the
adjoining Rural Residential land.