Council settles costs with Big Barrel
Another $12,000 has been added to the Palmerston North City Council's $63,000 bill for appealing against the granting of Big Barrel's liquor licence for its Cloverlea roundabout outlet.
The council has reached an out-of-court settlement with IS Dhillon and Sons to cover some of the costs the company incurred as a result of Cr Tangi Utikere's ratepayer-funded appeal.
The appeal claimed that the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority was wrong in law to grant the licence.
It argued the authority had not given sufficient weight to concerns the new outlet would lead to an increase in harm from alcohol consumption in the deprived Highbury community.
Justice Stephen Kos rejected the appeal, and invited Big Barrel to file for costs.
The city council decided in the closed part of its meeting on Monday to pay $12,000.
Cr Utikere did not take part in the debate or vote because of his conflict of interest.
Big Barrel's lawyer Alastair Sherriff said the costs had been agreed using High Court rules, but without returning to court for a ruling on the amount. He confirmed the payment had been received.
City council chief executive Paddy Clifford said neither Cr Utikere nor the council intended to appeal against the High Court decision.
Mr Clifford said the decision to challenge the granting of the off-licence was made by the full council last April after considering legal advice from lawyers Cooper Rapley.
At the time the costs of the appeal were estimated at $40,000.
However, the actual costs to date, including legal advice to council staff, total $63,000.
Mr Clifford said it had been legitimate to debate the $12,000 payment in private. The decision was made public once IS Dhillon and Sons accepted the one-off payment and the matter was now closed.
Mr Clifford was looking forward to working with the Palmerston North District Licensing Committee which has taken over the role of the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.
It will consider all future applications for on-licenses, off-licences, club licences, special licences, temporary authorities and manager's certificates.