Fate of Kennards self-storage facility at stake

After months of debate, Wollongong councillors look set to decide the fate of a contentious Kemblawarra self-storage facility at tonight's council meeting.

Kennards Self Storage has been fighting to install a new outlet at Kemblawarra Industrial Precinct and Business Park since 2010.

Self-storage units were previously allowed in the park, which is zoned for heavy industry. But they were prohibited when the current Local Environment Plan came into effect that year.

Later, Kennards submitted a rezoning request to Wollongong City Council, asking NSW Planning to allow storage premises in all areas in the region zoned for heavy industry.

After two heated council meetings in May, where this proposal was first supported by councillors and then rescinded, staff were asked to put forward several options, to be considered tonight.

Options include rezoning the Kemblawarra site to a light industrial zone which allows self-storage; permitting self-storage units in heavy industrial land only at the industrial park; and rejecting any development of self-storage units at the park.

However, staff have recommended that the original Kennards planning proposal be endorsed, as this would allow the self-storage facility to go ahead while protecting "valuable heavy industrial-zoned land for the long term".

Kennards managing director Sam Kennard said he hoped this would help his business finally get the green light.

"This is restoring what Wollongong used to have in its [LEP] for decades. We think this is the right thing and the most logical thing the council should do - although selfishly we wouldn't mind which option they chose as long as it allowed self-storage."

"I'm hopeful that ... they've explored all the options and the professional staff have done their job so that council can see the right answer is to just go back to allowing self-storage in [heavy industrial land]."

If the council rejects the storage facility, Mr Kennard would either appeal to a higher authority over the rezoning or sell off the land in small blocks before looking for land in nearby council areas, such as Shellharbour.


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