Inner West Independent

Bunnings Tempe: Planning panel defers decision in win for the community

Jack Breen and the Tempe community have been campaigning against a Bunnings traffic plan in their area. Photo: Jack Breen.

By PATRICK MCKENZIE

Inner West councillors have unanimously supported a motion to conduct an independent risk assessment and feasibility review of proposed traffic lights near the site of the controversial proposed Bunnings store in Tempe.

In passing a motion moved by councillor Mat Howard at a meeting last week, council resolved to “determine if safety and network impacts previously raised by Transport for NSW could be effectively mitigated”. 

On Wednesday, the Sydney Eastern Planning Panel announced a deferral of their determination on the traffic plan modifications that would give way to construction of the store.

“The panel considers the matter should be deferred to allow the necessary processes to occur and for a supplementary assessment report to be completed and referred back to the panel for determination in a timely manner,” the panel said in a statement

It comes after a sustained community campaign by local residents as well as parents and students at the nearby Tempe Public School, who convened the ‘Safe Traffic Plan for Tempe Bunnings’ group.

The group has previously called for NSW Metropolitan Roads Minister Natalie Ward to visit the proposed site, which residents say is dangerous because of the increased traffic that the new Bunnings would bring to its narrow streets. 

The group received the support of several councillors, including Cr Howard, Cr Justine Langford and mayor Darcy Byrne.

“We’re now calling on the Planning Panel to give us the chance to do this important work and then make a decision based on all the facts,” Cr Howard said prior to the panel’s decision.

The background to the motion affirms council’s support for the residents’ campaign and states that, at the start of March, Transport for NSW acknowledged the pressing safety concerns in a letter to residents.

“Transport for NSW acknowledged significant concerns of residents, Tempe Public School and the community, stating they would support further risk assessment to be undertaken by Bunnings or Council of the Princes Highway access and a feasibility review of traffic lights to determine if the safety and network impacts could be effectively mitigated.”

Transport for NSW said to support ‘further risk assessment’ of the area

An attachment to the motion included correspondence between NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Cities, Transport and Roads Mark Taylor MP – on behalf of Minister Ward – and Labor Member for Heffron Ron Hoenig, on behalf of Cr Howard.

The letter says that “given the level of community concern, Transport for NSW would support further risk assessment being undertaken by either Bunnings or Council of the Princes Highway access and a feasibility review of traffic lights to determine if the safety and network impacts could be effectively mitigated”. 

While all present councillors voted in favour of the motion, Cr Philippa Scott left the meeting during discussion and voting after declaring a significant interest as a member of the Sydney Eastern Planning Panel.

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