Approved, but not by aldermen

THE Launceston City Council has approved a $10 million inner-city Woolworths supermarket without seeking the final formal consent of the city's aldermen.

Council officers this week ticked off on the Wellington Street development under powers of delegated authority, available to them under the council's interim planning scheme.

Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said council officers were permitted to do so when a development application received two or fewer representations.

"Delegated authority is aimed at speeding up the planning process in cases where developments are non- contentious," he said.

"The proposed CBD Woolworths received one representation, which was on a non-planning issue."

The sole representation against the development, which dealt with pedestrian safety concerns resulting from increased traffic flow, was raised with the Tasmanian Planning Commission last December through an application to rezone the site.

Some aldermen yesterday expressed disappointment in not having the opportunity to give the project its final approval.

Alderman Danny Gibson said there could be a cynical view in the community that the project had been "snuck through" by delegated authority.

"I acknowledge that the council has done absolutely nothing wrong but from an outsider's view, it could be seen that the role of the elected members is simply being handled by the council officers," he said.

Alderman Rosemary Armitage said she believed the delegated authority clause was invoked when a particular development satisfied all planning scheme requirements.

She said it should not be used when dealing with planning scheme alterations, or large projects.

"When you have significant developments like these, I think the community has an expectation that they come to open council," Alderman Armitage said.

Alderman Robin McKendrick said it was still unknown whether some questions over traffic raised by aldermen had been resolved.

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