A proposed car wash, dog wash and laundry in Cobram’s centre has been knocked back by Moira Shire Council due to concerns about its impact on the nearby area and hours of operation, although not without some debate.
The proposal for a car wash, laundry, dog wash and associated signage at 18A Hay St included a three-bay wash, automated wash, four vacuum bays and queueing areas with two access points on Hay and High Sts.
Council received three objections, with concerns for detriment to the current amenity, impact on car parking availability, excessive noise and light and impact on the existing streetscape and surrounding heritage precinct.
The site also directly backs onto residential blocks.
Moira Shire councillors Kevin Bourke, John Beitzel, Peter Lawless, Gary Cleveland, Marie Martin, Ed Cox and Peter Mansfield voted to refuse the application, while Cr Wendy Buck voted against the recommendation to refuse.
Speaking to the refusal, Cr Beitzel said the proposal would have a detrimental impact on the orderly plan of the Cobram township.
‘‘The proposal has potential for impact on persons and the environment, including noise, emissions and pollutants in the surrounding area drainage systems, which cannot be controlled to ensure safety and continued liveability of the area,’’ he said.
‘‘While the proposal would indeed support the local economy and supply a service to residents and visitors, it’s more suitable to land that is zoned commercial two, which accommodates industrial waste activities such as car washes.’’
Cr Bourke said if a proposal was inconsistent with state and local planning policy frameworks, there wasn’t anything they could do about it.
‘‘It’s with regret that we would want to reject this for any issues, but unfortunately I think the two major ones here are the proposal is inconsistent with state and local planing policy frameworks and I think regardless of whether we want it or don’t want it, as council we are pushed into the corner there.’’
Cr Buck spoke against refusing the application, saying it was something council should be approving.
‘‘I’ve been out and about looking at car washes, particularly this type of one in towns and I am absolutely flabbergasted we are putting this up for refusal,’’ she said.
‘‘Looking at the ones I’ve seen, they’re not noisy, washing the car seems to be quite a recreational thing, quite a passive thing, it’s in a proposed area that is commercial and it is a commercial business.’’
Cr Cox said a car wash working well in one area might not necessarily be the same in another area.
‘‘I acknowledge Cr Buck’s concerns and as a shire we want to be open for business, to do business and to encourage businesses within our shire,’’ he said.
‘‘I just think in this instance, in the actual centre of Cobram right next to our park and doctor’s surgery, I just think it’s in the wrong spot.
‘‘There are other spots in the Cobram area for this proposal, but we’ve got to deal with the issue we’ve got in front of us.’’
Cr Martin said like Cr Cox, she didn’t want to be knocking business back, particularly one that was involved in everyday life.
‘‘The proposed 24 hours of operation really concerns me and there’s no regulation as to how many cars will be going in and out at any one time,’’ she said.
‘‘I think it’s a good business idea, but in the wrong spot.’’
Cr Lawless said there were a few concerns for him in the application’s fine print, including the 24/7 operation.
‘‘I acknowledge Cr Buck’s presentation and take into consideration what she’s saying, and I think we’re all pro-development here,’’ he said.
‘‘I hope we do sit down with this person, who is prepared to spend a considerable amount of money in Cobram for a facility that is needed, and I hope we can find a site somewhere that does support it.’’