BREAKING: Council gives St Mary’s servo the go-ahead
SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council has approved the development of a Mobil service station on the St Mary's Hall tennis courts in their special meeting this morning.
The approval means the two tennis courts, squash court, and four smaller buildings next to the Local Heritage-listed site will be demolished to make way for Warwick's tenth service station.
It was an almost unanimous decision to approve the revised building proposal, with Ross Bartley and Cynthia McDonald the only councillors to vote against the final motion.
Cr McDonald's main concerns were the workplace health and safety concerns raised in the only objection submitted to the developer during its public notice period.
"They did also raise some OH&S concerns over the proximity of some of those bowsers of the development," Cr McDonald said in the meeting.
"I understand that further letters cannot be considered before council, but we have provided the livestream for people to actually be able to put input into this process."
The development proposal was first brought before the council on Wednesday at their general meeting, but a final decision was pushed back to today after several councillors voiced issues with the project.
Cr Bartley shared concerns at both the general and special meetings about road safety and usage at the intersection of Guy and Wood St.
"Nowhere in that report do I see compensation for the loss of three car parks," Cr Bartley said.
"I don't think it should be at the ratepayer's expense, it should be at the developer's expense."
Cr Bartley also mentioned issues he and fellow councillor Andrew Gale had raised on Wednesday that the new service station will struggle to gain a foothold in Warwick, forcing it to close down like several others before it.
"I just hope history doesn't repeat itself," Cr Bartley said.
"But, I think we can comfortably realise that if history does repeat itself, I think the expense borne by the organisation to fix that up was the owner of the service station at the time."
Before the vote took place, SDRC acting chief executive Jane Stroud stressed to councillors that those who made the formal objection would still be eligible to take the matter to the Planning and Environmental Court.
"Once council makes its decision to either accept or refuse the application, an objector who has made a proper submission can also take the applicant to the Planning and Environment Court," Ms Stroud said.
"They can do that by themselves, or with council.
"That submitter will always have those rights available to them."
There has been no decision yet on when development will begin.