IN a boost to the local motor industry, a two-storey “vehicle sales building” has been given the green light in Muswellbrook.
After much discussion, Muswellbrook Shire Council conditionally approved the development application on Rutherford Road.
Council heard from a few speakers at its monthly meeting on Tuesday night, from a developer to a concerned nearby resident.
“Myself, the management and staff of Upper Hunter Automotive are glad to have our new multi-franchise car dealer development approved by council,” director and shareholder of Upper Hunter Automotive Mark Lancaster said on Wednesday.
“We would like to thank council for taking the time to investigate all aspects of this key development and this will ensure stable employment for our current, and future employees.
“This will also allow Upper Hunter Automotive [to] offer the Muswellbrook community Holden, Hyundai and Mitsubishi in a state-of-the-art vehicle sales and service facility.
“We need to obtain the construction certificate from council after we submit some further information, but we hope to start [construction] sometime in April 2017.”
Following a decision deferral at the February meeting, the applicant researched concerns, including possible noise pollution from the workshop.
The journey began more than three years ago when Holden advised Upper Hunter Automotive they needed to upgrade to a new facility to maintain their franchise agreement.
Mr Lancaster told those at the meeting Upper Hunter Automotive currently employed 20 people.
He said the addition of Mitsubishi and Hyundai operating from a purpose built facility would allow for growth, and they could foresee the need to employ an additional 15 staff, taking their operation to 35 staff members.
He urged council to determine a decision on the development application at the meeting, stating it was zoned correctly, and the development contractor KDC believed they had addressed all aspects of council’s questions.
“Due to the very large capital outlay to purchase land, build a dealership facility and then fit it out in line with the manufactures dealer agreement, we needed to acquire more manufactures that we could house in the facility to make this financial viable,” he told those present.
In October 2016, Upper Hunter Automotive was appointed the Mitsubishi brand, which currently operates from a temporary facility, before moving into the new dealership facility.
They have also been appointed the Hyundai brand to start at the completion of the new facility.