Supermarket expansion concerns Crofton Downs residents

JOSEPH ROMANOS
Last updated 09:16 17/01/2013
Cofton Downs residents
JOSEPH ROMANOS
Concerned residents: Crofton Downs locals, from left, Ben Lennard, Ian Sharp, Keith Shackleton, Lyn Shackleton and Natasha Sharp meet in front of the former cafe-pub The Village.

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Crofton Downs residents are concerned about the goings-on at their local shopping centre in Churchill Drive.

They are disappointed that the planned massive expansion of the Countdown store has forced the closure of several local businesses.

Further, they feel there has not been enough consultation with the community.

The residents, who in recent years often met and socialised at The Village cafe/bar, have formed a group called The Village People.

Last week Countdown announced the store was closing on January 27. It is not expected to re- open until near the end of the year, when it will be considerably bigger at 3300sqm.

Countdown public affairs manager Luke Schepen said the decision about when the store would close had been made only recently.

"We are keen to keep the community up to date with what's going on and will be trying hard to do so," he said. "After all, these people are our customers."

He said that with some expansions the store was able to remain open and work could be undertaken around the development, but that was not possible this time.

Ian Sharp, one of The Village People, said it was disappointing how many local stores had closed.

They include a gift shop, fruit and vegetable store, hairdresser, video store, physiotherapy and health business, a children's shop and vet.

In addition, the much-loved Village cafe has closed. Its premises are to be used by the local chemist.

"There are 600 dwellings in Crofton Downs, and 123 people aged over 65, according to the last census," Mr Sharp said. "And that's not counting nearby Wadestown, Khandallah and Ngaio.

"To many of these people, the local businesses were vital. In addition, getting along there was often their R and R.

"We're sure the new Countdown store will be great but are concerned to be losing so many of the businesses we rely on."

Mr Sharp said his group was hopeful that Countdown would listen to their concerns and allocate the remaining space for at least some of the stores.

Mr Schepen said there was space in the new development for five businesses, besides Countdown. One would be a cafe, one a chemist and the other three were yet to be allocated.

He said Countdown would be keen to hear the community's views on what should go in there.

Mr Sharp wants to find out how widespread the community concerns are.

Contact him on 021 369 963 or by email ian.sharp@clear.net.nz.

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