New Aldi sparks fear of retail creep

Surrounding factories, warehouses and industrial mechanics may be phased out if an Aldi goes in.

AN Aldi planned for Guildford Road has sparked fears a supermarket could gradually displace Bayswater’s longstanding industrial businesses. 

Bayswater’s various industrial districts are doing a good trade and are recognised as important employers, but they’re already facing an uncertain future as their turf shrinks as a result of urban regeneration projects, population growth and expanding housing. 

Aldi now wants to build a supermarket on the corner of Guildford Road and Katanning Street and are seeking Bayswater council’s support to amend the industrial zoning to allow a shop. The site currently hosts a Reece’s Hire warehouse, and it’s surrounded by manufacturing, warehouses, mechanics, showrooms, factory units and a service station. 

When council considered the idea last year Bayswater staff warned “encroachment” of retail could create “conflict” with the industrial businesses, since they’re supposed to have 300m buffer zones so their noise, odour and other impacts doesn’t bother non-industrial “sensitive” businesses.

A staff report says a shop would have “undue impact on the operations of the existing and possibly new businesses”, including “reducing the hours of operation, limiting the amount of products which can be produced and possibly prohibiting particular types of industrial development”. 

Both the council’s new planning scheme and the state government’s big “Perth and Peel @ 3.5million” framework warn against retail encroachment on industrial areas, which are considered economic powerhouses and important employment nodes.

Nearby remnant industrial zones are already predicted to shrink due to other plans in the pipeline, including the state government’s Metronet plans for Morley that’ll see some industrial areas rezoned to commercial and residential, and incoming state rules requiring bigger buffer zones will see about 25 hectares of the central Bayswater Industrial Precinct turned from industrial zoning to lighter “transitional” areas over time.

Consultation on the Aldi plan was carried out late last year and 10 submissions rolled in, mostly objections or comments and just one local saying an Aldi nearby would be neat.

One submission made on behalf of a nearby impacted company “not named in the report” objected vigorously. 

“The amendment represents a speculative haphazard proposal that seeks to capriciously diverge from well-established and accepted strategic planning principles,” the objector submitted. 

“These principles seek to focus retail development within established activity centres where they offer the greatest community benefit whilst protecting scarce and important industrial land from ad hoc encroachment by incompatible uses.”

Council planning staff also reckoned a supermarket in the industrial zone could harm the future prosperity of the Bayswater Town Centre 1.5km away if it syphons off business. They’d rather have supermarkets in the town centre surrounded by small retailers that might get some business from shoppers.  

This week four planners and consultants acting on behalf of Aldi were scheduled to make the case to Bayswater councillors, who will decide whether to request the state planning minister and WA Planning Commission to allow the shop. 

by DAVID BELL

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