A WRENCH has been thrown into Aldi’s expansion plans with Bayswater council voting against letting the supermarket set up in the Guildford Road industrial area.
Aldi sought a change to the council’s planning scheme to allow a shop in the industrial zoned site at 508 Guildford Road, currently a Reece’s Hire (“New Aldi sparks fear of retail creep,” Voice, January 29, 2021).
That prompted concerns from surrounding factories, warehouses and mechanics that a sensitive use like a supermarket would cause conflicts and lead to their operating hours being cut, or they’d be forced into expensive noise or emissions reductions.
It’d also make it harder for new industrial businesses to move in as old ones moved out, leading to a gradual de-industrialisation seen in other areas.
After considering submissions from local businesses, retail competitors, and listening to a procession of reps from Aldi, a majority of Bayswater councillors voted against allowing the supermarket in.
Cr Josh Eveson said either option had pros and cons but it all came down to proper and orderly planning, and having an Aldi at that spot “reinforces what I see as an outdated, car-based planning model, not a focus on vibrant, active, walkable communities”.
Council planning staff had advised that an Aldi there might harm chances of one day getting a supermarket in nearby Bayswater town centre, a more walkable spot with lots of small retail businesses around that could use the support of spillover supermarket shoppers.
Cr Eveson added “the state, as a whole, is grappling to retain centrally located industrial land.
“Industrial land is being replaced with housing and other land uses rapidly, destroying much-needed economic centres, employment hubs – yes, jobs.”
Cr Sally Palmer supported the rezoning , saying it was “anticompetitive” to stop them setting up shop and pointing out the state authorities like the PTA, Water Corp and Development WA had no objections to the plan.
She said it’s well placed being near a train station and close to residential areas and is a “sign of progress – it’s always been an aspiration to improve the Guildford Road” area.
Crs Dan Bull and Michelle Sutherland agreed the Aldi was alright to go in but were outvoted by the majority.
by DAVID BELL