Planning and environment – appeal against refusal of
development application for establishment of a Masters Home
Improvement Centre and a showroom at Noosaville – where
showroom uncontroversial – where proposed Masters consistent
with the regional plan – where proposal not a
"consistent use" or an "inconsistent use"
pursuant to the planning scheme – whether conflict –
community, economic and planning need – economic impact
– sufficiency of grounds to justify approval notwithstanding
Facts: This was an appeal against Council's
refusal of a development application to facilitate the
establishment of a Masters Home Improvement Centre in Stage 1 and a
separate showroom in Stage 2 on land at Hoffman Drive,
Only the Masters component of the application was in dispute at
The subject site was located at the periphery of the Noosa Shire
Business Centre (NSBC), which was home to Noosa
Civic shopping centre. A mid-size Bunnings was located proximate to
the business centre. There was no other competitor to Bunnings on
the Sunshine Coast. The nearest Masters was more than 100
The subject site was located within the Urban Fabric under the
South East Queensland Regional Plan (SEQPR). The
NSBC was identified as a Major Regional Activity Centre. Such
centres were intended to complement the Principal Regional Activity
Centres by serving catchments of sub-regional significance and
accommodating key employment concentrations. Out of centre
development was inconsistent with the SEQPR's strategic intent.
The SEQRP encouraged large format retail premises to be located on
a centre's periphery. The proposal was consistent with the
The subject site fell within the area covered by the Noosaville
Locality Plan under Council's planning scheme, Noosa Plan. The
locality was divided into zones. The site was located within the
Shire Business Centre Zone.
The proposed use was identified as falling with the "Retail
Business" use class under the "Business Uses"
primary use category under the planning scheme. The proposal did
not fall within any of the specified use types within the
"Retail Business" use class.
The issues in dispute at the time of the hearing were:
conflict with the planning scheme;
need and benefit;
economic impact; and
sufficiency of grounds to warrant approval notwithstanding any
Decision: The Court held, in allowing the appeal:
While the proposal was not classified as an inconsistent use,
there was some conflict with the planning scheme as a consequence
of the departure of the proposal from what was intended within the
relevant precincts of the NSBC. The proposal would provide a
substantial amount of retail development which would displace
opportunity otherwise for potential future development for
specified consistent uses, including non-retail uses, in the
applicable precincts on the subject site.
It was well settled that town planning was not generally
concerned with the protection of existing operators from
competition per se.
The evidence did not justify a conclusion that the proposal was
likely to result in an overall adverse effect on the extent and
adequacy of facilities available to, or planned for, the local
While the catchment population might not be generous for two
large format home improvement stores, there was a sufficient
economic demand to support the proposal in addition to the existing
The conflict which arose by reason of a departure from what was
intended in the relevant precincts was more than merely technical
or minor but it was not so serious as to fundamentally undermine
the planned hierarchy or the function of the NSBC overall.
Sufficient grounds to justify approval notwithstanding conflict
lay in the significant public or community need, sufficient
economic need and significant planning need for the proposal and
the benefits which it would bring to the community viewed in the
context of the suitability of the site.
The Appellant had discharged its onus and the appeal was
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