PEN­NANT HILLS DIS­TRICT CIVIC TRUST

Pen­nant Hills busi­nesses liv­ing with un­cer­tainty

Monthly Chronicle - - Village Voice - PAUL TAY­LOR, MEM­BER OF THE PEN­NANT HILLS DIS­TRICT CIVIC TRUST

Pen­nant Hills busi­nesses and their em­ploy­ees may be the “col­lat­eral dam­age” of the Town Cen­tre Mas­ter Plan. There are lessons from the Beecroft ex­pe­ri­ence with very few if any of the pre­vi­ous busi­nesses on the site of the Beecroft re­de­vel­op­ment re­turn­ing. To pre­vent the same sce­nario hap­pen­ing to Pen­nant Hills, strate­gic plan­ning for a Mas­ter Plan is re­quired. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for busi­ness own­ers, em­ploy­ees, cus­tomers and ser­vice pro­vi­sion for the com­mu­nity.

For busi­nesses to sur­vive there needs to be plan­ning around where busi­nesses can move to dur­ing re­de­vel­op­ment, park­ing and be timely in their de­liv­ery of the Mas­ter Plan. Cur­rently there is no scope for busi­ness to move out­side the busi­ness dis­trict due to zon­ing rules. When premises are pur­chased by a de­vel­oper, busi­nesses will sim­ply have to close and their staff will have to find other jobs un­less the busi­ness can re­lo­cate. Clos­ing a busi­ness for at least a year dur­ing re­de­vel­op­ment is not eco­nom­i­cally vi­able. Any changes to medium den­sity rules will also make it harder to re­lo­cate a busi­ness and com­ply with park­ing re­quire­ments. If the Coun­cil al­lows ap­pro­pri­ate re­zon­ing some busi­nesses may be able to move out­side the cur­rent busi­ness area, re­main in Pen­nant Hills and sur­vive.

Dur­ing the re­de­vel­op­ment of Beecroft many busi­nesses suf­fered due to a lack of park­ing. Re­cently there was dif­fi­culty park­ing in the con­struc­tion phase with the de­vel­op­ment on Fisher Av­enue. We wel­come the Coun­cil’s plan to en­sure all trades park at Pen­nant Hills Park, pro­vided the lo­gis­tics are prac­ti­cal and en­force­able in re­la­tion to get­ting equip­ment and sup­plies onto site. Ar­guably a staged re­de­vel­op­ment is re­quired to en­sure enough park­ing.

Due to the de­lay in the re­lease of a Mas­ter Plan, busi­ness own­ers are un­able to plan and in­vest in the medium to long term with cer­tainty. If a busi­ness is forced to close in the medium term, the own­ers are re­luc­tant to em­ploy or in­vest sig­nif­i­cantly in beau­ti­fy­ing premises. Yar­rara Road shops are likely to re­tain its drab street scape un­til cer­tainty is pro­vided.

Hope­fully we can learn from the Beecroft ex­pe­ri­ence and col­lab­o­rate with coun­cil, busi­ness own­ers and cus­tomers to de­vise a plan to man­age the con­struc­tion phase. We hope the Mas­ter Plan is sym­pa­thetic to ex­ist­ing busi­nesses while still im­prov­ing the amenity of the com­mu­nity town cen­tre.

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