Brunswick locals have reacted angrily to a Bunnings proposal to build a warehouse off Lygon Street with 250 underground parking spaces, in what the hardware giant says would add 50 local jobs.
Under the $21 million plan, the Chamton building on Glenlyon Road would be demolished and replaced with a two-storey shop that backs onto Pitt Street for truck access.
Andrea Bunting and fellow Brunswick locals are opposed to the Bunnings plans.Credit:Chris Hopkins
Moreland Council has received more than 350 objections to the proposal, which would have a maximum height of 15.4 metres and taper down to 14.2 metres. It would include a cafe on the ground floor and have an outdoor nursery on the first level.
Local woman Andrea Bunting has organised with around 70 of her neighbours to fight the development, which she said is almost completely surrounded by homes and would overshadow them in winter.
Metropol Planning’s proposal for a Bunnings Warehouse store on Glenlyon Road in Brunswick.Credit:Metropol Planning
“It's a huge, visually bulky development,” Ms Bunting said.
“We can’t find any other Bunnings that’s almost completely surrounded by homes. This is just unprecedented.”
She said immediate residents were mostly concerned with the loss of sunlight, and that traffic was a broader concern for locals.
Bunnings Warehouse currently leases a store on Sydney Road in Brunswick, which is up for sale.
Toby Lawrance, the Victorian regional operations manager at Bunnings, said moving sites would employ an extra 50 staff.
“Bunnings has been part of the Brunswick community for five years and it's become clear that our existing store is too small to cater for demand from local residents,” he said.
“We're looking to move to a new store with space to offer a wider range of products that would also create around 50 further jobs for locals, in addition to the 50 team members currently employed at the Brunswick store.”
A report by developers Metropol Planning said the existing Chamton building was under-utilised by only employing 30 people.
There would be an outdoor nursery in the north-west corner of the first floor.Credit:Metopol Planning
Ms Bunting, whose flat backs onto the site, argued the proposal would strip business from the nearby Lygon Street Nursery.
She said a Bunnings Warehouse belonged in an industrial area where there were fewer pedestrians and cyclists.
The underground carpark, which would have 250 parking spaces across two levels, would be accessed via Glenlyon Road. Trucks and heavy vehicles would use Pitt Street, a small residential street.
Metropol Planning said there would be no impact on the safe and efficient functioning of Glenlyon Road or Pitt Street.
“There is sufficient space for two trucks to queue off-street within the accessway if necessary, to wait for the loading bay to become available [at Pitt Street],” a report said.
The plans also account for 14 bike spaces. Local planning rules would normally require 45 bike spaces but Metropol argues that most customers would buy bulky items and need to drive.
Mr Lawrance said the design was tailored to fit with the local area.
“The design would not be a typical warehouse, but would have features such as a shopfront with window glazing, a café at the front of the store and a dedicated pedestrian entrance that fits in with local surrounds,” Mr Lawrance said.
“While the site has a long-established industrial use, we value the views of the community and look forward to working with council to review and respond to community concerns as we progress the application.”
He said traffic management had been carefully considered, and that an independent noise assessment had been commissioned.
Moreland Council officers will consult with impacted neighbours and prepare a report, to be presented to councillors in November or December this year.
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