Battle over customer restrictions

Battle over customer restrictions

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F45 Training Byford director Ben Luckens. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen

A Byford business owner will take his battle with council one step further by heading back to the State Administrative Tribunal after councillors voted to restrict the number of customers allowed at his establishment at any one time.

At the Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire meeting on May 28, council voted to reconsider a development application for an amendment to the original conditions set down for health studio F45 Training Byford.

Council initially considered the application at its council meeting on February 26 whereby a condition was imposed to restrict the number of customers allowed at its premises at any one time.

F45 Training Byford director Ben Luckens said the company then applied to have the condition reviewed by the State Administrative Tribunal, which resulted in a further revision of the number of customers allowed at the business.

This reconsideration was then presented to council last month with the officers’ recommendation suggesting to approve the application as it was considered the initial concerns of council were now satisfied.

Mr Luckens made a deputation at the meeting before councillors considered the application, which resulted in a vote of three to four against the officers’ recommendation.

Mr Luckens said he had read the agenda before the meeting and was shocked at the final outcome.

“Lots of hard work and money was put into this and for the shire to then bring down a small business… it doesn’t look good especially in the community,” he said.

“In the meantime until this can be resolved the shire is restricting our business to potentially half of what we could be operating at.”

Councillor Jacqui See who spoke on behalf of the motion said she attended the business about five to six times a week and never had an issue with parking.

“Since ALDI has opened it has alleviated any parking issues in the area,” she said.

“I do understand that there were issues but who says that all the people that were parking there were there for F45.”

Mr Luckens said in his deputation the revised development application that reduced the requested member limit per class from 35 down to 30 members during business hours and from 50 down to 40 members outside of business hours put the application conservatively and comfortably within the recommendations made in the shire’s Parking Management Plan.

“As far as I am aware there are no existing restrictions on any other health studios or gyms in the business complex or surrounding area some of which gyms also run group fitness classes,” he said.

“The subsequent business and foot traffic generated by the patrons of F45 benefits the other businesses in the business complex and surrounding area, as well as increasing the vitality and culture of the precinct.”