Bulky goods invades industry lands

02/04/2008 - 22:00


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Across the Mitchell Freeway from City of Stirling offices, the new Ikea store stands like a monolith.

Bulky goods invades industry lands

Across the Mitchell Freeway from City of Stirling offices, the new Ikea store stands like a monolith.

Its fresh blue and yellow livery stands out for miles, but literally weeks since its official opening the retail outlet’s prominence is attracting attention of a different sort.

Questions have been raised about whether or not such land use is compatible with the site.

New Stirling councillor Paul Collins is one detractor who believes the store should never have been built.

Mr Collins, whose day job is a principal at CBD consultancy Lloyd Collins Property Consultants, can’t believe such a warehouse style outlet could be situated right next to a major train station so close to the central city.

“People are not going to use public transport to carry a lounge suite,” he said.

“It’s an awful location for that type of business.” “It is a situation where we have a major transit hub with a bus and rail interchange and we could have done better, should have done better.” Mr Collins firmly believes that a mixture of residential and office development should have been preferred for the site, along the lines of the Network City strategy that is dominating local government planning.

With an estimated $4 billion in new works and development expected at the Stirling Regional City Centre, how things are planned in this area is important as it could easily become the metropolitan area’s second CBD.

Equally concerned is the Property Council of Australia’s WA business development manager Damian Stone, though he sees it from a different perspective.

Mr Stone sees much of the recent development in Stirling’s key nonresidential precincts as reflective of another type of land usage clash.

This time the fault lines lie between different industry sectors rather than the usual conflict with residential land owners.

He believes that bulky goods stores like Ikea are often inappropriate use of the land, out-bidding traditional industrial users in a number of places in metropolitan Perth and taking up significant strategic sites as they took their new retail format away from the higher cost shopping precincts.

“Industrial land used to be relatively cheap,” he said.

“That has caught a lot of people short.” Bulky goods stores are a phenomenon of the past 15 years in Perth and, increasingly, in regional Western Australia.

From furniture to hardware, these giant stores, surrounded by huge car parks and generally low in employee numbers, have invaded industrial zones.

They brought retail consumers, mainly by car, into areas that were previously only inhabited by industry and transited by trucks and utes.

It was a typical evolution, driven by cheaper land and consumer’s desire for lower priced goods at the expense of service.

It’s not just Ikea in Innaloo that Mr Stone is concerned about.

He cites the whole retail change that has occurred along Scarborough Beach Road and the increasing penetration of office complexes from nearby Herdsman into Osborne Park as threats to general industrial land.

But bulky goods are the worst offenders in his book, examples of which are: •New AMCOR site in Bibra Lake which will contain a section of bulky goods, limiting heavier industrial uses.

•Shire of Busselton limiting industrial zoning in favour of bulky goods retail around the airport.

•Belmont introducing a mixed use zone in the current industrial area to foster bulky goods retail and office on former industrial land as part of a rebranding of the area.

•Strong bulky goods growth has lead to bulky goods developers acquiring land along Stock and Garling Roads in O’Connor.

•Jandakot has commercial development favouring bulky goods.


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