Townsville City Council wins developer’s appeal bid for servo near Palmer Street dining precinct

A controversial plan to develop a service station a few hundred metres from the city’s premier dining precinct has been knocked back at appeal.

A court has rejected the move from a Brisbane developer fighting to overturn the Townsville City Council’s decision to reject its development proposal.

JSFNQ1 Pty Ltd lodged its plan to bulldoze an empty building on the disused block to make way for a servo next to popular up-market restaurant Jam Corner in September 2018.

The plan for the 1869 sqm block in McIlwraith St, South Townsville included a service station with eight bowsers, a convenience store and room for two fast food outlets.

Townsville City Council rejected the plan in June last year on the grounds it was not consistent with designated zoning and that it was contrary to reasonable community expectations.

While the council opposed the plan, the developer argued the service station and adjoining shops would support the needs of the community and would improve the visual amenity of the area that was a “hotchpotch” vacant buildings, car parks and other buildings.

In a decision handed down in the Planning and Environment Court last week, Judge Richard Jones ruled in favour of the council and dismissed the appeal.

He found the proposal did not comply with the objectives of the city plan and that the petrol station simply was not needed considering its proximity to an existing service station just two minutes away.

“I am unable to accept that there is any meaningful planning need for the service station and associated shop,” Judge Jones said.

“It appears tolerably clear to me that the location of a service station on this site would be contrary to the expectations of the public.

While he opposed the development of the service station, Judge Jones found the proposed fast food component would be a “useful and appropriate” addition to the Palmer St Precinct.

When it was first proposed, the plan was criticised by restaurateurs in Palmer St including the owners of Jam Corner and the Grill’d franchisee.

They said the development did not meet community expectations, would be visually unattractive, would impact on the operation of their businesses and would reduce the value of their properties.

Another concern raised was the possibility of petrol fumes impacting the experience for diners.

The court found it could not reject the application based on many of these complaints as they had no evidentiary basis.

Judge Jones dismissed the appeal after a five day hearing earlier this year.

Extracted from Townsville Bulletin

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