Plan to reopen Orange Grove

High hopes: Director of Gazcorp, Nabil Gazal, with a petition calling for the reopening of Orange Grove DFO. Picture: Luke Fuda
High hopes: Director of Gazcorp, Nabil Gazal, with a petition calling for the reopening of Orange Grove DFO. Picture: Luke Fuda
High hopes: Director of Gazcorp, Nabil Gazal, with a petition calling for the reopening of Orange Grove DFO. Picture: Luke Fuda

High hopes: Director of Gazcorp, Nabil Gazal, with a petition calling for the reopening of Orange Grove DFO. Picture: Luke Fuda

THE fate of the Orange Grove direct factory outlet (DFO) lies with the votes of Liverpool councillors.

A motion to approve the development was deferred at last week's council meeting and will be tabled again on November 28.

The proposed development will see the reopening of the former brands outlet that was forced to shut down in August 2004, when the legality of the centre's development consent was challenged in a high profile court case with Westfield.

The council sought to amend the Liverpool Local Environment Plan (1997) to introduce a new definition for "outlet centre" and rezone the subject site, but the application was rejected by then infrastructure and planning minister, Diane Beamer.

As a result, many businesses were forced into bankruptcy.

Eight years on, councillors have found themselves in a position to give local business owners the fair go they deserve.

The development has the potential to bring more than 400 local jobs and about 63 retail businesses into the area.

Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun already expressed his support for the development and said the council was committed to support development that promoted local growth and employment.

Additional retail giants such as Kmart and Aldi have also submitted development applications to open stores in Orange Grove.

The developments are pending the approval of the Liverpool Retail Hierarchy Review, which determines whether Liverpool can sustain further large-scale commercial retail developments in the local government area.

Councillor Mazhar Hadid said he supported the review because it promoted competition, which in turn favoured the consumer.

He said the review would have to be properly assessed by all parties before any decision was made to ensure it would not adversely affect small business.

"I am against monopoly; now Westfield gets all benefits and it's taking business outside of the south end of the CBD," he said.

"If Orange Grove goes ahead, it will create competition and maybe Westfield will have to rethink some of its strategies."

Nabil Gazal of Gazcorp, the company that owns the Orange Grove market site, said he hoped the application would be supported by the council.