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Bottle shop battle

JESS LEE
Last updated 05:00 19/07/2013
Grey Lynn Business Association
JESS LEE
OPPOSED: People are fighting an application for a bottle shop to open in Grey Lynn. From left: Grey Lynn Business Association chairwoman Jennifer Northover, Jo Goffe, Bhavna Patel, Soala Wilson, Taz Stephenson, Mike Murphy and Leanne Moore

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Concerned business owners and residents say the opening of an unwelcome liquor store in the heart of their neighbourhood will only enhance the area's seedy reputation.

Grey Lynn people are banding together to fight the application for GL Wines and Spirits to set up shop at 515 Great North Rd.

The store operators plan to trade between 10am and 11pm, seven days a week.

The site is a former hairdressing salon and resident Leanne Moore says granting Great Lynn Trading Ltd a liquor licence will undermine efforts by the Grey Lynn Business Association and residents' groups to make the area more family friendly.

"These shops have a seedy reputation and we feel that this will just add to that."

The store is located in close proximity to the Grey Lynn Tavern, an existing bottle shop, a supermarket and within walking distance of retirement villages and schools.

Ms Moore has lived in Grey Lynn for the past 20 years.

"Some parents don't feel comfortable bringing their children down here," she says.

"We like the grunginess of it, that is Grey Lynn. We don't want to sanitise it, we just want to be strategic in terms of the shops we bring here."

Grey Lynn Business Association member Soala Wilson says residents and retailers are heartened by the refusal of a liquor licence application in Mt Albert this month.

People against proposed new outlets are limited in what they can do under the existing legislation.

The Sale of Liquor Act limits objections to areas like the suitability of applicants and the hours of trading.

People opposing on the grounds of proliferation have to demonstrate to a very high standard how an additional outlet will cause harm to the community.

Grounds for objection can also include whether granting a licence will negatively impact the community and neighbourhood.

Mike Murphy opened Kokako Cafe and Roastery in the old Grey Lynn Post Office at 537 Great North Rd 18 months ago.

He is not anti-business, he says.

"There's already some social problems in the area.

"One of the reasons we were attracted here for this business is because it is diverse, but in saying that, I'm not convinced that a low-grade liquor store will add value to this community."

Mr Murphy says current landlords and retailers are having a positive impact on the community.

"It's not gentrification it's about bringing more people into the community and making it feel safer."

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A petition has been started and protests will take place outside the site at 515 Great North Rd on July 22 and 26 from 5pm to 6pm.

- Auckland City Harbour News

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