Residents groups from north Canberra are banding together to launch an appeal over a controversial decision to build extra shops and units in the centre of Dickson.
The ACT government last month gave the green light to a plan to build Coles and Aldi supermarkets and 140 apartments fronting Antill Street near Dickson shops.
Plans for the development, driven by Coles and Canberra-based developers Doma Group, were initially knocked back last year for a failure to meet planning and design requirements and amid strident opposition from some residents.
A second, significantly changed proposal was put forward by developers this year, which critics said was a step forward but remained "clinical", "a monolithic lump", and an "alienating" complex.
Residents had voiced concerns over a lack of parking, particularly during construction, the removal of trees, the dated and uninspiring design, traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, and the negative effect on Dickson pool.
Planning authorities later accepted the revised proposal, subject to a string of conditions, in an effort to ease ongoing community opposition.
But Dickson Residents Group convenor Jane Goffman said on Friday that Dickson Woolworths' landlord, property developers Charter Hall, had filed an application for the decision to be reviewed in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Ms Goffman said the group had joined the appeal given changes to the proposal, which she claimed were "superficial", had not addressed lingering concerns around safety, access, amenity and aspects of the development's interface.
"It's not desirable to end up here, which is what we tried so hard to avoid," Ms Goffman said.
"It wasn't a small thing to put in submissions, to arrange petitions with thousands of signatures and to organise a community meeting and at the last minute have the government and developers decide it was too risky and pull out.
"It's really a feeling that we're left with no other option here."
Ms Goffman said Downer Community Association and North Canberra Community Council were also expected to join the action in ACAT.
She said the group did not want to hold up developers and was not opposed to changes to the area, but members wanted to see a safe building that was well-integrated with the existing town centre for the "flagship", gateway site.
The contentious development split community opinion when it was confirmed, as traders in Dickson praised parking improvements while a community group slams the government for allegedly favouring developers over residents' concerns.
Dickson Residents Group members at the time said they had been extremely disappointed by the approved plans, which they said had "all the same warts as before but with slightly different clothing".
Environment and Planning Directorate deputy director-general Gary Rake last month conceded the revised proposal may not win unanimous support from the community.
Extensive measures had been taken to alleviate parking concerns and there had also been efforts to improve the complex's frontage onto Antill Street and associated loading dock arrangements.
Changes had also focused on improving the general appearance of the building, creating a more attractive and safer pedestrian environment and improving the connection with the existing Dickson shops.
The appeal matter is expected to come before the tribunal for directions in September.