Coles wins court appeal for $80M retail-residential development at Caringbah

Coles can proceed with a proposed $80 million retail-residential development at Caringbah after a successful appeal to the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Agreement was reached with Sutherland Shire Council in a conciliation commission hearing over variations to the building height and floor space limits set out in the local environmental plan (LEP).

The development will replace the existing Coles supermarket, adjoining shops and a former squash centre at the corner of President Avenue and Willarong Road.

The project will include a new Coles supermarket, liquor store, eight specialty shops and 120 apartments.

Coles is expected to move quickly to begin work after three years of negotiations with the council, including several revisions of plans.

Most of the tenancies in the block are already vacant.

Coles appealed to the court against the deemed refusal of the development application (DA).

Although the proposed project was scaled down from the 14-15 storey development unveiled in 2013, it still exceeded LEP limits.

Two buildings, one six levels and the other four levels, will be built above a two storey podium and basement parking.

The approved project is about one metre higher than the 30 metre limit at the northern end of the site and 10.6 metres above the 20 metre limit in the southern portion.

A higher floor space ratio (FSR) has been allowed in the south-western corner although the total gross floor area is less than that permitted across the entire site. Coles submitted this was a "technical" breach.

The parties agreed there were no adverse impacts from visual bulk, view loss, solar access or privacy as a result of the non-compliance with the development standards.

"The proposed development is not inconsistent with the zone objectives or the relevant development standards," Commissioner Sarah Bish said.

"The portions of the non-compliant building forms are not readily discernible in the context of the site or are out of character.

"The proposed development satisfies the objectives of the zone and the relevant development standards, for both height and FSR."

Trading hours for the Coles supermarket will be 6am to midnight from Monday to Saturday and 7am to 10pm on Sundays.

Coles estimates the supermarket will employ about 120-140 people, the majority being permanent full-time and part-time.

Further development in Caringbah Centre area could flow from the Coles project.

The council owns the adjoining car park.

A council spokeswoman said the council was "set to develop a precinct plan that will provide direction on the future use of this area, as well as the future of Caringbah Centre".

"This work is still in its early stages and no decisions have been made to date on the future use of this area," she said.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said, at this stage, there were no plans for the development of Caringbah station or adjoining land.

However, renewal opportunities could be considered in the future in the context of the council masterplan.