Owl Drive service station will go ahead, despite neighbours’ concerns

A developer has won approval to build a Mobil and X Convenience on the corner of Swanport Road, Murray Bridge.

This story was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled stories are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.

A developer has won approval to build this service station at the corner of Swanport Road and Owl Drive, Murray Bridge. Image: Ekistics/Rural City of Murray Bridge.

Murray Bridge is about to get its tenth service station, despite neighbours’ concerns.

On Friday, Development Holdings Pty Ltd won approval to build a Mobil servo on the corner of Swanport Road and Owl Drive.

The site is currently occupied by a run-down row of shops.

When complete, the service station will operate 24 hours per day and include an X Convenience store and Burger X restaurant, as Murray Bridge News reported in March.

Not everyone who lives nearby is happy about it.

John Queen was one of two nearby residents who brought his concerns to the Murray Bridge council assessment panel at Friday’s meeting.

He worried that petrol fumes, bright lights and the sound of engines rumbling would make his house less liveable at all hours of the day or night.

“I don’t believe this town can justify it,” he said.

“I can’t believe they’d think that another (service station) is necessary, let alone a 24-hour hamburger shop.”

Another nearby property owner, Mark Thompson, also worried about fumes and noise.

“This is pretty much a full-on residential area,” he said.

“A shopping centre is quite different to a petrol station, and the 24-hour bit concerns me.”

The X Convenience service station will be the second in Murray Bridge, after another which opened on Adelaide Road recently. Image: Ekistics/Rural City of Murray Bridge.

But a consultant acting on behalf of the developer, Zoë Garnaut, said the development would conform to all the relevant standards, and that her client could install a fence that would block out more noise and light on Mr Queen’s side.

As to the station’s opening hours, she said the business would need to operate 24 hours a day to compete with other local servos.

“It is on an arterial road,” she said.

“We think the 24-hour operation won’t have an impact on surrounding properties.”

She downplayed a suggestion that the development would attract trouble during the night, saying the extra lighting and noise would reduce the “unsavoury activity” she alleged was already going on in a nearby laneway.

After some discussion, the assessment panel ruled in favour of the developer.

Councillor Karen Eckermann – the public’s representative on the panel – said she was satisfied that neighbours’ concerns would be addressed.

“The site, I believe, has been underutilised and ignored for a long time ... (it’s) a real eyesore,” she said.

“I believe the service station will be welcomed by the community and will be an asset for this area of the township.”

Residents worry about what happens at night

Residents had previously raised concerns about the Owl Drive development in the belief that another 24-hour service station on Swanport Road, which opened in December, had attracted social problems during the small hours of the morning.

SA Police confirmed to Murray Bridge News that two incidents had been reported there in the past six weeks.

On April 20, three people allegedly entered the service station’s shop and asked for money; their target was punched during a scuffle that ensued.

On May 4 a man was allegedly spotted waving an axe around in the area; he and the group he was with fled towards the high school without incident.

Police did not say what time of day the incidents occurred.

Correction: The proposed development will be the 10th service station in Murray Bridge, not the ninth, as an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated.