Bottle store battlers ready for court

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013
Mt Albert bottle store
JASON OXENHAM/ Fairfax NZ

LIQUOR OPPOSITION: Mt Albert residents voicing their opposition in December to a new liquor store planned for the suburb.

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Opponents of a proposed new bottle store opening in their suburb say they are prepared to take the fight to the High Court.

Mt Albert residents have banded together in opposition to the outlet, to be called Kiwi Drive Liquor, being established in the old garage on the corner of New North Rd and Asquith Ave.

The application was lodged by Emkay Trading with proposed opening hours of 7am to midnight. 

The intention to open a liquor store at the prominent site was announced just before Christmas, sparking outrage from community members who said there were enough opportunities to buy booze in Mt Albert.

About 30 people held a series of street protests in December. 

A petition with more than 700 signatures and 20 submissions against the store were filed with the Auckland Council over the 10-working-day submission period.

The application is in the processing stage with the District Licensing Agency. 

An agency spokeswoman said after processing it was likely the file would be forwarded to the Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority and a public hearing held to determine the outcome.

''This application has attracted a number of objections, one that includes a petition.''

Albert-Eden Local Board member Pauline Anderson is one of those against the new store and said the group was determined to see it either halted completely or at least have its hours restricted.

''We believe the notification was timed for the Christmas period and I think given that, we've done very, very well [to get objections in].

''The fact we have a petition and submissions means there's a big likelihood it will go to a hearing.''

If a hearing doesn't produce the desired result the battle will continue.

''If the decision grants the licence, certainly as a community we would look at appealing and taking it to the High Court.

''We're already talking as a group and if we're not happy we will pursue it.''

The group is heartened by a precedent set in 2011 when a license for a New Plymouth bottle store was rejected after businesses and community groups argued it would cause security problems.

''It certainly seems to work if you take it to the High Court,'' Anderson said.

Mt Albert MP David Shearer has lent his support to the residents.

''I feel quite strongly about alcohol outlets and I don't want to see another one - we've got two in Mt Albert already.

''My feeling is the community should have much more say. 

''They ultimately wear the cost, why shouldn't they have a say?''

Emkay Trading director Kamlesh Lachhani could not be reached for comment.

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