'Retail village' plans upset some residents

ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014

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Ambitious plans to transform Pauatahanui into a tourist haven have divided the picturesque village.

GroundUp cafe owner Darryl Ellis has upset some residents and shopkeepers by drawing up plans to transform a three-shop plot into a two-storey retail village based on Matakana, a boutique wine town north of Auckland.

Despite not owning the land, and despite his two neighbouring businesses having leases until 2024, he has approached Porirua City Council to discuss resource consent.

He hopes to get the land rezoned from rural to light commercial, and has offered to buy the land on which all three businesses stand from landlord Albert Ng.

He says he is trying to secure the future of the village, but not everyone there sees it that way.

Longtime Pauatahanui resident Alan Gray believes Ellis and Ng have been working together so Ellis's redevelopment can proceed.

 Ellis's plans had shaken the community, neighbour Nancy Brown said.

"I've been here 55 years and I've never seen such a terrible problem. It's usually a lovely community."

Ellis's other neighbour, Dianne Boyack, of the Rural Trading Post, said Mr Ellis had for years been telling her customers that only cafe patrons could park on the section.

"I'm not going to support anything he does, whether I like it or not, because I don't want to work with the guy."

Ellis said he was trying to be straightforward in his dealings with the Rural Trading Post. "It's not a bullying thing, it's ‘What are the rules, how can we operate?' I need offroad parking."

He had not included the Rural Trading Post in his redevelopment plans because, as a service, it did not fit with his retail vision, he said.

It was normal procedure to gain resource consent before announcing building plans to the public, he said, but he had presented them to the residents' association and Forest & Bird, which manages a neighbouring nature reserve.

The development would cost $3 million, and he had already spent $40,000 on the designs.

"I don't even know if I'll do it. I'm not a very good businessman. I just go hard and do my best," he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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