SUPA CONTROVERSIAL: The footprint for the proposed IGA development in the Centenary Dr car park at Maclean.
SUPA CONTROVERSIAL: The footprint for the proposed IGA development in the Centenary Dr car park at Maclean.

‘Ghastly’ building DA approved

THE crowd jeered from the gallery as councillors approved the controversial proposal to build an IGA on Maclean's Centenary Dr car park.

The sale of the Centenary Dr car park is yet to be finalised but on Tuesday night a council committee approved the development application, a decision that will need to be ratified at next week's full council meeting.

The 2000sq m supermarket plans received substantial criticism from the Maclean community, with nine people making submissions to the council against the development.

"In no way can the proposed IGA construction be said to match the heritage of its immediate surrounds; it sticks out like a sore thumb," John Hancocks wrote in his submission.

"The car parking left after the proposed development will be inadequate," Maclean resident Carolyn Holmes said.

Architect Richard van Dorp described the concrete walls as "ghastly", while president of the Maclean Chamber of Commerce, Travis McConnell said the project had the chamber's support.

In total, nine submissions were received against the application and three in favour.

Cr Margaret McKenna said she was relieved to finally see some progress.

She said she feared the issue would become like the Grafton bridge, continually rearing its head with little action.

Meanwhile, Cr Andrew Baker, who was part of the group that proposed developing the site in 2008, sat in the next room having declared a conflict of interest.

After the meeting Cr Baker said he had mixed feelings.

"I'm enthusiastic about seeing another developer make it succeed, but I'm disappointed council has taken this long to realise it is a great place for a supermarket," he said.

Cr Baker said if Maclean was going to thrive, people needed to stop being forced to go out of town for their food shopping.

He also said the parking issue was a non-entity.

"I went into town this morning and only 60% of the car parks were occupied, which is really sad," he said.

"My view has always been that I would love for the town to have parking problems to solve, but the fact is it doesn't."

The Greater Maclean Community Action Group wrote to the council this week to ask for the development application to be delayed so the plans could be explained at a public meeting.

If this week's decision is ratified at next week's meeting, this request will have been ignored.

More in tomorrow's Daily Examiner.