A COMMUNITY group has called on supermarket giant Woolworths to reconsider its proposed development for Shearwater, saying it will divide the town in two.

Save Our Seaside Village spokesman Guy Barnett said plans for a new shopping centre including a supermarket 700 metres from the existing town centre were “crazy planning”.

“We will be writing to Woolworths, saying the establishment of a new town centre will split the community and cause significant detrimental economic and social impact,” he said.

“It will fragment the town in this small community, hurting retailers, businesses, employees and their families, but also the tourism potential and amenity of Shearwater and the surrounding areas.”

Mr Barnett said the group conducted an audit of available retail space in the town centre, which showed there was plenty of room for expansion there.

More than 2600 people from the 4000-strong community had signed a petition in opposition to the development, Mr Barnett said.

However, Latrobe Mayor Michael Gaffney said the council had approved the land’s rezoning six years ago through a rigorous process with the then Resource, Planning and Development Commission, and the land had been sold to Fairbrothers for it to develop as it wished.

“We understand where (the opponents) are coming from – economically times are tough,” he said.

“But it’s not going to be the end of these (existing) shops.

“We have to bear the brunt of (the feedback), but we’re mindful of the fact that we’re there to support the future growth of the area.”

At a Devonport Chamber of Commerce and Industry dinner on Friday night, Woolworths chief executive Grant O’Brien confirmed that a Shearwater development was in the planning stages.

Michael Gaffney

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