A review of Warrnambool's retail strategy is on the agenda after councillors voted to make funding it a priority.
In adopting a planning scheme amendment which will guide future growth of the eastern part of the city, the councillors also backed a recommendation from the state government-appointed planning panel for an immediate review of its outdated retail strategy.
The Warrnambool Eastern Activity Centre Structure Plan, which was the subject of two hearings in December, sets out a framework for further retail and residential development of land on both sides of Raglan Parade between Gateway Plaza and Bunnings.
It earmarks locations for more traffic lights, which roads should be widened and which land should be used for new residential suburbs and which should be set aside for commercial use.
Gateway Plaza operators raised concerns during the panel hearings about the negative impact the plan could have on its business.
The Homemaker Centre called for a 'fair go', telling the panel it wanted the right to secure different tenants, such as a supermarket - something the council believed allowing outside of Gateway Plaza did not line up with the city's retail strategy.
But a review could lead to changes that gives the Homemaker Centre what it wants.
Cr Mike Neoh backed the panel's call for a review of the council's retail strategy which is more than a decade old.
Cr Neoh said when the strategy was last done in 2007, the central business district was the primary retail centre but since then it had spread across the city with development at Dennington, in Warrnambool's north and further expansion around Gateway Plaza.
"I think it is time we review the retail strategy and look at those areas as well as the CBD and Gateway Plaza," he said.
"I would hope that the Homemaker Centre allows for mixed use. I think we've seen success in terms of people being able to fill those shops with mixed use such as Harris Scarfe. I just hope that this particular report supports that mixed use on an ongoing basis.
"We've got plenty of bulky goods areas, but that mixed use interface is really important, particularly to shops that are already out there."
Cr Sue Cassidy said the Eastern Activity Structure plan was like a working document that would continue to "change and grow along the way".
"It shows that as a council were are thinking to the future and that it does show that Warrnambool is open for business for people who do want to come here," she said.
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