MP calls out Woolies

PERTH federal MP Patrick Gorman has stepped into a local planning issue, imploring Woolworths to cough up for an artwork at its proposed Beaufort Street store.

The supermarket giant is planning a shop on the site where Bunnings burned down last year, but has told Stirling council it doesn’t want to put in an obligatory artwork because its architect has designed something so art deco the building qualifies in its own right.

Mr Gorman wrote to Woolies saying he was “disappointed” by the company’s stance.

“Woolworth’s proposed project sits along the historic Beaufort Street, well known for the heritage buildings which run along either side of the road,” Mr Gorman wrote.

Stylistic

“It is important for all new construction projects to meet the stylistic standard of the area, ensuring a continuity of design along this stretch of road.

“It is my belief that all individuals, including companies, should contribute to the building and the beautification of a community.

“Woolworths’ proposal to build a new store at this site is a welcome move for the suburb of Inglewood and surrounding areas.”

Stirling council’s draft local planning scheme requires developers to set aside at least one per cent of construction costs for public art if their development is worth more than $2 million.

That policy won’t take effect until it is rubber stamped by council later this year, so Woolies can avoid an art bill if they submit their development application now.

But if the project gets delayed, then the policy could come into effect.

In their application to Stirling, Woolies’ planner Rowe Group wrote that because the proposed building looked nice, “we are of the view that it would be inappropriate for the city to impose a condition requiring the provision of public art on-site or…in the locality”.

Mr Gorman says art can “add a lot to the feeling and vibrancy of a street.

“Further down Beaufort Street in Mount Lawley is the prominent Beaufort Street sign, which creates a strong sense of community along the strip.

New customers

“This in turn helps local businesses attract new customers.

“That’s what an outstanding piece of public art outside Woolworths in Inglewood could do for surrounding businesses and bring local residents together.”

We asked Woolworths if they were considering adding some art.

Their regional development manager Jarrad Wilson says “we are currently working through feedback received from the community and council in relation to our plans for Inglewood and we look forward to providing more updates as we move through the planning process”.

by DAVID BELL

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