Backup booze shop rankles
With a High Court challenge against plans to open a bottle store in Cloverlea pending, a Palmerston North businessman has stirred the pot with annoyed councillors and neighbours by opening one across the road.
Big Barrel Manawatu managing director Baldeep Dhillon bought the lease to the adjoining bottle store of the Cloverlea Tavern on July 31 and is plastering it with the liquor franchise's distinctive branding.
Dhillon's original plan was to open a Big Barrel at the abandoned BP site on the corner of Tremaine Ave and Botanical Rd.
But, in April, Palmerston North city councillor Tangi Utikere, who objected to Dhillon's liquor licence application, lodged a council-backed High Court appeal against the decision to grant him one.
The appeal was based on the perception that three off-licence outlets by the same roundabout would promote liquor abuse in the community.
Dhillon told the Manawatu Standard yesterday that his preferred site was still at the old BP - which he owns - but he cannot open until after the High Court hearing, scheduled for November.
Because of the delay, Dhillon had bought the lease to the Cloverlea Tavern site across the road as an interim measure.
"If I don't purchase something when it is available, someone else will," Dhillon said.
"We're tidying it up and, once it's all done, there will be no signage on the street or anything like that. . . . That Cloverlea site is really key for us."
If he wins the High Court matter, he says he will close the Cloverlea Tavern site and open at the BP site across the road.
Cr Billy Meehan said Dhillon needed to "see sense" and settle for the Cloverlea Tavern site he was now in.
Ratepayers were paying about $40,000 for the High Court challenge.
"It would be perfect for everybody if Big Barrel just operated out of the tavern site."
Utikere said he remained convinced a third store would cause alcohol-related harm.
Cloverlea resident Brad Hunter said Big Barrel was trying to dominate the area. He did not approve of a third store by the roundabout, despite using the other two regularly.
Nearby resident Melissa Pratt said the intersection was busy, and used by many children.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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