Fuelling debate: Woolies could appeal decision
THE COUNCIL'S "deemed refusal" of the proposed Woolworths service station for High St has polarised public opinion, with the development process now standing at a crossroads.
Despite the application being rejected at last Wednesday's Southern Downs Regional Council meeting, no definitive reason was given as to why the service station was unsuitable.
Woolworths now has the option to either appeal the decision at the Planning and Environmental Court, ask the council to reconsider, or leave the matter as it stands.
The company was yet to receive official confirmation of the council's verdict when it was contacted by The Border Post, and therefore had not made a decision on whether it would take further action.
More than 180 letters of complaint were submitted to the council before last Wednesday's meeting, which cited both competition and the proposed service station's proximity to a local childcare centre as reasons for concern.
Stanthorpe councillor Cameron Gow was one of four representatives who voted against the application.
He said there had been few issues in recent times that had raised the ire of the public as greatly as the service station proposal.
"It was refreshing to see such a strong sense of community pride on show, with the letters and the sheer volume of people in the chamber," Cr Gow said.
"They spoke and they were heard."
However, the council's decision clearly didn't sit well with many locals, with Stanthorpe's social media community going into a frenzy in the following days.
"Having grown up in and since moved away from Stanthorpe, development definitely isn't something the council likes to further," commented Shonna Steel.
"There are so many missed opportunities for the town, this being one of them."
Some praised the decision, saying a Woolworths service station would take away from local small businesses.
"About time Woolworths didn't get their own way - good on you Stanthorpe," Ron Butler wrote.
With the future of the development uncertain and the possibility of Woolworths launching an appeal, the proposed service station is a sensitive topic in the region.
Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Peter Blundell declined to comment on the issue.