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Community concern with Seymour cinema complex

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

Mitchell Shire Council will decide on the future of a proposed entertainment complex in Seymour after neighbours lodged objections to the development in Tallarook Street, opposite KFC.

The complex is a multilevel cinema-based entertainment facility across two allotments bordered by 13 Tallarook Street, 8 Alexander Street and 122 Eliza Street, Seymour.

A 13.5-metre-high building will include two cinemas – one 32-seat gold class style and the other a 117-seat family cinema – an eight-lane bowling alley, electronic amusement machines area, a simulated x-golf facility, and a café with terrace.

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It is proposed to operate 9am to 12am Sunday to Thursday, and 9am to 1am on Friday and Saturday.

The entertainment complex was a topic of discussion at council’s community questions and hearing meeting on June 5.

The developer is a local businessman with three businesses already established in Seymour.

Carolyn Blackwell, who lives next to the proposed site, told the meeting that the proposed height  of the building would create privacy issues for neighbouring residents.

“The café terrace overlooks our properties … we won’t be able to wander around our own backyard anymore without eyes on us. People will be able to see us in our shed and gardens at will,” she said.

Another neighbour, Bill Montgomery, said he strongly objected to the development for its impact on his residence.

He said the 13-metre wall would be ‘less than one metre’ from his residence, blocking morning light through the kitchen and rear bedroom.

Russell Varco, representing the developer, said following consultation with council planners, the first-floor level had been moved back to 1.32 metres to address the proximity concern.

The cinema and outdoor area are adjacent to Mr Montgomery’s bedroom and he said the constant noise, particularly after midnight, would be ‘unacceptable’.

He said heat radiating from the wall against his backyard and house would detrimentally affect their dog, their house and his garden, if it is not destroyed during construction.

Residents also raised carparking issues, saying the number of carparks was insufficient for the expected patron numbers.

Twenty-nine carparks, including one disability spot, are allocated on the main site with an overflow carpark at 122 Eliza Street – creating 64 spaces for the estimated 250 to 500 patrons.

No specified area for staff parking was identified in the application, and it was not specified if total patrons included employees.

Another resident said Whiteman and Alexander Streets already experienced significant traffic during the annual Seymour Alternative Farming Expo.

“[Patrons] are not all going to go to the carpark. They’ll park willy-nilly because there’s spots there to be parked. There’s always going to be some congestion in either street,” he said.

“Whiteman Street and Alexander Street were built as residential roads and, as such, are not made for the amount of heavy vehicles that will be serving the proposed property.”

The developer also submitted a request to increase decibel levels.

“I can’t even mow my lawns after 5pm and they want to raise their decibels to ring through to 1am,” a resident said.

“I don’t think a two-metre wall along one side of their building is going to do a lot for sound levels. The actual bowling lanes and that would be above that level in the first place.

“We’re going to have to endure that noise issue seven days a week.”

Mr Varcoe said the development would benefit Seymour and Mitchell Shire’s economy and tourism.

“From what I’ve gathered, maybe except for the adjoining owner, most of the objectors don’t actually oppose what we’re doing but just require clarification around the issues they need addressed,” he said.

Objectors suggested 122 Eliza Street alone become the development site.

But Mr Varcoe said it wasn’t possible as the Eliza Street site was an industrial zone, prohibiting the development, and decontamination costs, estimated between $200,000 to $300,000, would put the development out of reach.

“As it would not be cost effective, it’s not in consideration. The developer did look at the site in Tallarook Street between Target and Aldi but chose not to proceed because of another contamination issue,” Mr Varcoe said.

Mr Varcoe said an intent to apply for a liquor licence would only be for the café to sell alcohol to gold class cinema patrons.

Council will consider the planning permit application at a future council meeting.  

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