Woolies asks State to intervene

DESPITE being told 'No' by Ballina Shire Council, Woolworths is having another crack at getting approval for rezoning of land at West Ballina to enable its $20 million hardware superstore to go ahead.

The rezoning application was rejected by the council in August last year.

Staff said there were too many concerns about flooding at the subject site, and that it would not comply with the Local Environmental Plan.

But Woolworths this week confirmed that it has asked the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to "consider whether it would become the planning authority for the purposes of preparing an enabling amendment to the Local Environmental Plan".

"The proposed Masters store which was rejected by council last year will create 150 full time equivalent jobs, a multi-million dollar injection into the local economy and an exciting new retail format for the local community," a spokesperson for Woolworths said.

"Construction will generate 185 jobs for the community.

"The Department of Planning and Infrastructure is considering our request.

"No decision has been made."

The spokesperson said Woolworths was only interested in the West Ballina site and would not consider a different site in Ballina.

"It is the site that will best serve the Ballina and wider regional community," the spokesperson said.

If the department does agree to Woolworths' request, it will remove the council's power to make a decision on whether or not the rezoning proceeds.

Meanwhile Woolworths will not confirm its plans for the Centro shopping centre in Lismore, which it bought for a reported $23 million in October last year.

There has been speculation it will be turned into a Masters store.

But the Woolworths spokesperson has denied this rumour.

"While we are always looking for opportunity there are no plans to convert the Centro site in Lismore into a Masters store," the spokesperson said.

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