KFC Cessnock owners no longer plan to move restaurant, explore options for Aberdare Road site

INVESTIGATING OPTIONS: Pictured in May 2015, land owners Shayne Herring and Julie Kay at the Aberdare site they wish to develop.
INVESTIGATING OPTIONS: Pictured in May 2015, land owners Shayne Herring and Julie Kay at the Aberdare site they wish to develop.

The owners of the former Cessnock City Bowling Club site on Aberdare Road will wait until the outcome of a rezoning request is determined before they decide what they would like to do with the land.

Shayne Herring and Julie Kay – who also own KFC Cessnock and Kurri Kurri – bought the site with the hope to move their Cessnock fast food outlet and build a Hungry Jack’s and service station on the land.

Mr Herring said they now intend for KFC to remain at its current home on Wollombi Road, and they will “investigate their options” for the Aberdare Road site (which has been vacant since the bowling club burned down in 2010).

Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that Cessnock Council will ask the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to change the zoning to B1 Neighbourhood Centre, on the condition that the floor space of any cafe or restaurant development is restricted to 150 square metres.

“We are waiting on the results of the rezoning to see what we can do,” Mr Herring said.

“If the rezoning is successful, it is not the intention for KFC and Hungry Jack’s to go on that site – the restrictions on size would not allow it.”

In December 2014 the proponents lodged a proposal to have the private recreation land rezoned to allow for the fast food and service station development.

In July last year they advised Cessnock Council that they no longer wished to proceed with that development, but still hoped to rezone the site for commercial purposes.

Council staff recommended B1 Neighbourhood Centre zoning (rather than the higher-order B4 Mixed Use) when the proposal came back to council on March 15 this year.

That recommendation was originally knocked back by council, before a rescission motion on April 5 allowed it to proceed for gateway determination with the clause to restrict the size of any cafe/restaurant built on the site.

“Our proposal was rejected, and they (council) have offered an alternative that we are prepared to accept,” Mr Herring said.

“We will certainly fully investigate all uses.”

B1 Neighbourhood Centre zoning would allow developments such as accommodation, business premises, a cafe, houses, shops or a medical centre.

Council will undertake consultation with public authorities and the community after the gateway determination, and will receive a report back on the planning proposal following consultation with the community and State Government agencies.