Inner West Independent

Bunnings bummer for Balmain

Bunnings bummer for Balmain. Photo: supplied.

BY STATON WHALEY

After the Inner West Council had a development application to build a new Bunnings on Parsons Street in Rozelle withdrawn twice, the developer appealed to the Land and Environment Court of NSW.

The original application was withdrawn for reasons that included blocking the street view, late working hours, and traffic congestion.

Another application was re-submitted that was unchanged except for a larger floor plan.

Council once again requested the application be withdrawn.

The community and Council members have misgivings about the large name hardware store popping up, especially in such an inopportune location.

Greg Pattison, Secretary and Treasurer for Balmain Rozelle Chamber of Commerce, said he “welcomes new business in the area, but is also concerned for our community, mainly about the traffic it would bring. The peninsula is not the easiest place to get in and out of and where the Bunnings would like to go is right at the entrance and exit.”

Jamie Parker, Greens member for Balmain, has concerns with the potential impact on local busi-ness.

Mr Parker stated “I know many local people are concerned they are putting a large Bunnings re-tail store on the peninsula. It will have a significant impact on some of the smaller…hardware businesses in the area.”

Mr Parker also addressed the concern of the poor building space, telling the City Hub the “big-gest issue in my mind is the inappropriate location for such a large facility.”

Margaret Callinan, a longtime local resident, has “several misgivings.” Callinan says that the “loading and unloading on the suburban street has the potential to block all of the commuter end flow out of the peninsula. You can only get out of the peninsula from four streets, and that’s the main one. It backs up at all times of the day. The traffic alone is just dire.”

Ms Callinan also told the City Hub “We don’t need a Bunnings in the area. We have two great hardware stores in the area.We are already well served.”

Grant Crowle, owner of the local Balmain Rozelle business The Hardware Store, thinks “for the community as a whole it’s bad because the traffic and the location they want to put it in.”

Mr Crowle also referenced the “four Bunnings within seven kilometers of Balmain,” further say-ing “they’re just trying to drive businesses out.”

Mr Crowle isn’t just concerned with loss of business, saying “It’ll affect the whole community, not just the hardware stores because people avoid areas with Bunnings. They’ll just avoid the whole area because the traffic will be so bad.”

Speaking from experience, Mr Crowle said “We’ve seen it occur in Alexandria where we have another business.”

Both Crowle and Callinan mentioned the store being open much later than other local businesses.

Ms Callinan worries “It’s going to be open for extended hours and there’s nothing like that on the peninsula.” Mr Crowle says “They’re open from six in the morning until ten at night,.”
“People live in those streets…the light spill and noise from all hours of the night is ridiculous.”

While Bunnings may think that they are serving the community locals are certain the they will impact local businesses and create traffic chaos.

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