Warwick's old cheese factory is due for a large scale renovation.
Warwick's old cheese factory is due for a large scale renovation. Gary Hayes and Partners

STALLED: Uncertainty for Warwick shopping development

PLANS to develop the historic Warwick cheese factory have been delayed while its developer haggles with the Southern Downs Regional Council over zoning rules.

When Graeme Collins purchased the Victoria St site in January 2018 it was zoned as a 'specialised' centre, which allowed for a range of business activities.

In March 2018, the council amended its planning scheme and site was re-zoned as mixed use.

Mr Collins wants to build a gym, a garden centre, a retail showroom, a warehouse and a vintage machinery museum in the old factory.

Each of these types of business was approved under the earlier zoning.

A council spokeswomen and these changes were needed to 'appropriately reflect the State Planning Policy 2017 and the Darling Downs Regional Plan.'

But now they require separate planning applications and Mr Collins has asked the council to supersede the zoning changes so willing tenants can move into the space.

A letter to the council from Mr Collins' surveying consultants, Gary Hayes and Partners, dated February 15 pushed for the matter to be resolved quickly.

"As the property has been unoccupied for a period of time, vermin had infested the property resulting in a significant amount of cleaning and repairs to be undertaken before occupation could commence,” it said.

"The garden centre in particular is in a position to commence operation in the coming weeks, with areas for a number of other uses nearing completion.”

While development is located outside of Warwick's traditional retail precinct, Mr Collins' consultants do not believe it would undermine the viability of the CBD.

"The (site) instead would be a destination attraction, providing for uses that are generally located outside of the main business area,” the document said.

Included in the correspondence is a plan to remove more recent coldroom panel add-ons along the outside of the factory to reveal the majority of the factory's original brick work.

Correspondence from the surveyors states this would comply with the council's Local Heritage Registers rules.

Mr Collins was contacted for comment but declined until the matter with the council was resolved.

The council will decide the matter at its March meeting.

Key features in proposed Warwick Cheese Factory Development.

- A vintage machinery museum displaying old equipment used when the site was the Warwick Dairy Co-op, along with vintage vehicles and history displays about the Morgan Park Recreational Facility.

- A garden centre with outdoor and indoor plant sales floor, to be housed in the former shop and office area at the front of the site.

- A gym with 24-hour access, located in the centre of the former factory to limit noise impacts on nearby housing and to provide privacy for patrons.

- A service business in need of the factory's large cold rooms and freezers, or its large shed on the western flank of the site.

- A showroom selling white goods, furniture, large office supplies or machinery.

- A warehouse.