PLANNING officers are still sifting their way through 200 submissions on the rezoning of land off Scott Rd in Tamworth that could pave the way for a $25 million Masters Home Improvement complex.
Masters has applied to have land bounded by Locks Ln, Hilton St and Scott Rd rezoned to a mixed-use zoning which will then allow them to submit a development application for the home and hardware superstore.
A report is expected to go to Tamworth regional councillors with a recommendation from staff on the rezoning in about three weeks.
Masters has told The Leader it is committed to the project and hopes to begin construction later this year with a view to it being completed by the end of 2015.
“We have worked closely with council on our rezoning application,” a Masters spokeswoman said.
“Our traffic and flood reports concluded that the development would not have a significant impact on the surrounding road network and existing flood conditions. Scott Rd is part of the national highway network and will be more than able to handle traffic from the development.”
The Masters plan was first unveiled early last year but has attracted a storm of controversy, not just from neighbours but also from other residents who have queried the location of the development, although supporting the move by the Woolworths-owned retailer to set up shop in Tamworth.
The rezoning application attracted submissions ranging from one page to a 28-page dossier when it went on public exhibition at the end of the year. Staff have been trawling through them for a month now.
“We are summarising the submissions now and we’re hoping to have a report by late February or early March to the council,” a departmental officer confirmed.
“The issues raised have mainly revolved around things like traffic, flooding and the impact on neighbours.
“There have also been concerns raised about the environment and the impact on native species and other issues like noise pollution, visual impact and suggestions it is not the most appropriate location.”
The council said traffic issues raised included congestion, the increase in vehicle flow, the impact of neighbours being able to access their driveways in the area, and the proposed "seagull" type turning lanes along Scott Rd, which forms part of the New England Highway.
Some submissions also raised concerns about Masters planning to move the billabong or watercourse that runs across the land, by 10 metres and about general flooding in the area.
TRC director Jackie Kruger said her department was analysing and summarising the submissions in tandem with compiling its own report on the Masters rezoning application.