Vaughan Street project hold-up leaves businesses appalled
By Nadia Surace
Vaughan Street’s former Ritchie’s IGA plaza re-development has been held-up by building permits says property developer, Warren Thompson.
But Vaughan Street traders say they are appalled by the way the building has been managed in the mean time.
“It’s absolutely dreadful,” one retail said.
“There is vomit there, graffiti, smashed windows and squatters living in the vacated units in Sobraon Street.
“We are here trying to make a living. The state of the site leaves a lot to be desired about attracting people to the area to shop.”
Another retailer said the project’s management had been ‘second rate’.
“They’ve neglected to look after the site,” the retailer said.
“They (the developer) are in Melbourne, they’re not worried about what is happening around here for us.”
One of the retailers wrote to Council expressing their concerns last month.
Phil Pearce (former Greater Shepparton CEO) responded saying that the development company were complying to all necessary regulations.
Mr Thompson agreed, highlighting challenges caused by the delays.
“We have been working hard to board-up the windows that are being smashed in,” Mr Thompson said.
“Unfortunately we have a number of groups that keep coming back which have been difficult to keep on top of.
“They’re not stealing anything just vandalising and making a real mess.
“Demolition to make way for construction should begin in about four weeks, then we should see an end to their nuisance.”
The $20 million project has so far been delayed three weeks and is expected to take 12 months to complete after commencement.
Development plans include a Coles supermarket plus around 20 specialty shops.
Completion of the project’s early construction stages will make way for Council’s multi-million dollar upgrade of Vaughan Street precinct.
Council plans to remove angle parking in the street’s centre and improve aesthetics and pedestrian safety to the area.