Plans to build a $4million retail centre at 2-6 Colgan St in Cobram has received pushback from Ritchies Stores.
In a letter sent to council and circulated around town, Ritchies claimed a new shopping centre would siphon business away from the existing retail centre and local businesses.
Moira Shire Council will today discuss the planning scheme rezoning amendment and permit application, which would kick-start the next step of the planning process if approved.
Ritchies chief executive officer Fred Harrison said council was attempting to sneak the development past the community.
‘‘It has been kept low key and we believe more communication, more consultation, should be given,’’ he said.
‘‘One of the strengths of Cobram is the strong central retail shopping centre and to start a breakaway group is just not in the town’s best interest.’’
Mr Harrison said the local Ritchies IGA would be one of the shops that would be hit hard by a new shopping centre.
‘‘Cobram’s IGA works very closely with the local community and we find country people are very local to the independent stores, which we anticipate continuing in the future as well,’’ he said.
Moira Shire Council said it could not comment at this early stage, but everybody would have a chance to have their say at the community consultation stage if the planning amendment was approved.
The plans were put forward by property development group Tipalea Partners, which lodged a combined planning scheme amendment and permit application with Moira Shire Council.
Tipalea Partners chief executive officer Scott Spanton claimed the new shopping centre would bring more than 200 construction jobs and a further 200 ongoing local jobs once the centre opened.
‘‘Cobram residents will also benefit from the increased competition with new supermarkets and retail brands in the area and will be able to exercise greater choice in their spending,’’ Mr Spanton said.
‘‘The ambition has been to create a centre that reflects Cobram’s heritage and importance within the Moira Shire.’’
Under the proposal, the main entry to Cobram Village would be from Colgan St and the Murray Valley Hwy and the centre would extend to Park Crt and Cobram-Koonoomoo Rd in the west.
‘‘A dedicated pedestrian link is a vital component of the proposal to ensure that Cobram Village integrates successfully with Cobram’s street retail and commercial centre and effectively both activates the precinct and becomes an extension of the town,’’ Mr Spanton said.
The proposed 8615sqm centre includes a 3800sqm supermarket, a smaller 1700sqm secondary grocery store, a 635sqm ‘mini-major’ retailer, a 320sqm medical centre and parking for more than 430 vehicles and 34 bicycles.