A widespread survey commissioned by a local businessman of more than 800 Grafton residents shows the town is overwhelmingly in favour of new projects to create jobs and growth.
Rick Firth, who purchased the old Grafton Brewery site almost two years ago, had residents adjacent to his complex doorknocked along with an online and paper survey sent out to gauge the appetite for new development.
Almost 99 percent surveyed said they were in favour of future development within the Brewhouse Village, with a restaurant and heritage brewery at the top of the wish list.
Other ideas supported included a carwash and petrol station, with a range of other retail options put on the table.
Mr Firth said he commissioned the survey as there were mixed messages coming from Clarence Valley Council about what they would support on the site.
“We bothered to ask the people who live directly across from the Brewhouse Village and those nearby, as well as the wider community, and the results were resounding,” Mr Firth said.
“People want to see exciting and innovative new development in the town that will allow people to live and work here, and we have the space and vision to provide what they’re asking for.
“We understand there are some who have concerns, but this survey along with only one objection to our recent application for a carwash show people just want us to get on with it.”
The survey revealed 94 per cent of respondents would use a range of services in the Brewhouse Village if they were available rather than travel to the Grafton CBD, including a supermarket, fruit and veggie shop, personal grooming, and fitness facilities.
Over 76 per cent of respondents lived in Grafton, just over one per cent came from Maclean, with the rest from around the Clarence Valley and beyond.
Survey comments have included support for an ‘eat street’ component, artisan markets and a garden centre among others, with many respondents saying Grafton is sorely in need of this type of development.
Mr Firth said the old Grafton Brewery site lends itself perfectly to a retail and commercial precinct that will provide a real destination for people to work or come and enjoy a drink or meal,” Mr Firth says.
“Our masterplan recognises the historic brewery and will build on its heritage to provide something new and exciting for Grafton over the coming years.
“We have proof of community support and now just need the backing of council to make it a reality.”
The Brewhouse Village is already home to the Brewhouse café and 70 other tenants with over 230 people calling the complex their working home.