Battle looms over proposed Porirua supermarket

TESSA JOHNSTONE
Last updated 11:04 25/07/2014
Countdown Porirua

IN FOR A FIGHT: An artist's impression of the proposed 12-metre high supermarket planned for Whitford Brown Ave. Residents says the store would tower over neighbouring properties.

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A planning battle is looming over a giant $17 million supermarket in Porirua after neighbours voiced their overwhelming opposition.

The proposed 12-metre high, 3160sqm Countdown supermarket would tower over neighbouring properties, block sunlight and, in some cases, give shoppers a direct view into homes, according to one submitter.

About three-quarters of the 50-plus submissions on a District Plan change to allow the supermarket wanted the proposal rejected in its entirety.

Concerns include traffic, pedestrian safety, noise and the effect on the value of neighbouring properties.

Countdown owner Progressive Enterprises said the supermarket, to be built on the site of the Aotea Camping Ground in Whitford Brown Ave, would create up to 80 jobs and be a "great offer" for a rapidly growing suburb.

"We've worked hard to put forward a design that complements the site and surrounding area with native trees and landscaping. Feedback on the plan change is important to us, and we'll continue to work through that feedback," Countdown spokesman Adrian Walker said.

Its submission to the plan change asked for the building to be allowed at 3160sqm rather than the 3000sqm it initially asked for.

Several submitters pointed out there were five other supermarkets within a six-kilometre radius of the proposed site, including Countdown Porirua, and some said it would jeopardise the viability of smaller supermarkets in the area.

Progressive Enterprises' impact assessment estimated that New World Paremata could lose 12 per cent of its sales, and New World Whitby 11 per cent.

Carrus Corporation, the company behind a 246-hectare housing development near Aotea College, has opposed the application because there is already an area zoned for commercial development within its boundaries.

Aotea Camping Ground co- owner Peter Huntington said it had been a tough decision to sell but it was expensive to run the grounds, and he and his wife had to make a business decision.

The campground was home for several beneficiaries and homeless people, and it had asked Progressive to give semi-permanent residents at least a year's notice so they could find other places to live, Huntington said.

Hearings on the proposed plan change will be heard in early September and, if approved, Progressive Enterprises would go through a resource consent process, though the consent would not have to be publicly notified.

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- The Dominion Post

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