Green machine juggernaut AFGRI Equipment has been given the approval to build a $1.2 million dealership and service centre at Narrogin, paving the way for dozens of new jobs in the Wheatbelt. The Shire of Narrogin’s decision to approve the project has given the green light for AFGRI to purchase the 10,031sqm site on the corner of Graham Road and Great Southern Highway from a private seller. AFGRI submitted plans to the council in May, proposing to build a 1172sqm dealership, including a showroom, office storage area for mechanical parts, and a workshop. The company, which is WA’s biggest John Deere distributor, declined to comment on the project this week but said it would release more information in coming months. Shire of Narrogin president Leigh Ballard said AFGRI’s plans were a show of confidence in the town. “It is fantastic for Narrogin to be able to have this sort of investment in town, it certainly has taken a few years to get to this point. “It is great that in the current economic climate that a business like AFGRI is looking at building a new premise in Narrogin. “From a council perspective, we will always try to support new business wherever we can.” The opening would give Narrogin farmers John Deere machinery at their fingertips for the first time since Greenline Ag closed after it was acquired by AFGRI in 2016. It would also leave local farmers spoilt for choice in machinery colour, with two other dealerships already in town — Geoff Perkins Farm Machinery Centre specialising in New Holland, and Farmers Centre Narrogin in CASE IH. Project plans attracted just one submission from a resident during a 21-day public submission period, which suggested the Shire had “already made a decision” and raised concerns about the area’s current rural zoning. That submission, coupled with five submissions from government agencies, prompted the council to approve the project with amended conditions. AFGRI will have to undertake a scheme amendment to rezone the area from rural to general industry within three months of approval. Mr Ballard said the block had originally been earmarked to be rezoned to general industry as part of the Shire of Narrogin’s Town Planning Scheme Three, which is in the works. It also has to create a drainage and storm water management plan detailing how it will keep storm water run-off on-site and create a wash-down area to stop chemical spills or leaks mixing with storm water. The facility will also only be accessible via Graham Road, meaning vehicles cannot access the property from Great Southern Highway, while bins and storage areas will be screened from public view. AFGRI still needs to have a building application approved by Water Corporation and the Shire of Narrogin before it can start to build. Plans include a showroom, office storage area for mechanical parts, and a workshop built of cast fibre cement. The site would also include 31 parking spaces, up from the 17 required under the Shire of Narrogin’s rural zoning rules, which also require 20 per cent of the site to be landscaped. AFGRI requested that the council “exercise discretion” and allow 14.9 per cent, or 1488sqm, of the site to be landscaped. It said this was because the proposal used less than 50 per cent of the allowable plot ratio and the balance of the site would remain as a paddock. Once built, the business would add to AFGRI’s network of 14 dealerships from Geraldton to Albany in WA — the closest of which is at Wagin, 50km from Narrogin.