The decision to approve a 7Eleven service station at the corner of one of the town's busiest intersections followed a close vote in Council on Monday night.
Four Councillors, Val Scott, Sarah Lukeman, Tony Jarrett and Hollee Jenkins voted against the development citing traffic congestion, risk to pedestrians in particular school and TAFE students and the closeness of the petrol station to Ausgrid's substation.
They were supported by local residents including Martin Fallding who told Council the plans would result in over development of the site and make the corner intersection more hazardous.
But opposition to the development was over-ruled by the remaining councillors with Tony McNamara proposing approval and this was seconded by Godfrey Adamthwaite.
The site that was formerly a garden centre is opposite Hungry Jacks and MacDonalds take-way outlets. Traffic studies and reports were undertaken by the proponents Hargreaves Property Group as well as the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and an independent consultant reviewed the traffic studies supplied by the developer.
These reviews led the proponent to remove a take-way food and drink outlet (Red Rooster) from the development to lessen traffic and pedestrian activity on site.
One concern is traffic turning right from the southbound lanes and therefore Council and the RMS are requiring signs on Maitland Road to alerts motorists to the fact that is prohibited.
Cr Lukeman requested that Council make a submission to the RMS that a raised median strip be installed on Maitland Road to prevent southbound traffic turning into the outlet.
The service station can operate 24 hours/day seven days a week. Existing buildings on the site will be demolished to allow for the construction of the service station with four fuel bowsers (8 fill points)
Other consent conditions include fuel deliveries occurring outside the hours of 6am to 9am and 3pm and 6pm. All fuel deliveries are to be made with a vehicle that does not exceed 19m in length.
Questions were raised about policing the length of vehicles that enter the service station.
The service station's proximity to the sub-station raised concerns with residents and Councillors and the fact Ausgrid had not responded to the proposal in the development's hazard assessment.
Cr Lukeman said "I am concerned that no response from Ausgrid regarding this development was included in the hazard assessment"
A similar view was held by Cr Scott who said "Petroleum storage near a sub-station is of major concern."
Mr Fallding told Council that to comply there should be a 9m set back, but this proposal only offers a 2.5m set back.
"On this site you have an Ausgrid sub station and traffic lights. And there is no response from Ausgrid within the hazard assessment," he said.
"Wrong development in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the future of electric cars this development will eventually be an outdated development."
Turning Orchard Avenue into a more congested street worried Deputy Mayor Jarrett who spoke about the danger to pedestrians.
As a former principal of Singleton High School he said the risks to students accessing the school and TAFE along that stretch of road was already hazardous without making the situation worse due to this development.
"New England Highway is heavily congested now, this development will move this congestion into Orchard Avenue which will exacerbate the issue," he said.
"I oppose it, as it is a development on an inconvenient area."
Cr Lukeman was critical of the traffic studies arguing they were not undertaken during the peak periods.
"The independent review stated that 11 extra cars per hour would be turning right out of Singleton," she said.
"School buses that use Orchard Avenue were not considered in the traffic assessment"
"Traffic assessment modelling was done outside school and TAFE start and finish times."
But Cr McNamara dismissed those opinions saying that traffic will not increase in this area if the development goes ahead.