Richmond business shift growing

BUSINESS IN TUNE: Music Planet business manager Brady Lynch's recent move to Richmond exemplifies the town's growth.
BUSINESS IN TUNE: Music Planet business manager Brady Lynch's recent move to Richmond exemplifies the town's growth.

Brady Lynch is among a number of business owners choosing to relocate or open new outlets in Richmond.

Mr Lynch, the business manager for Music Planet, shifted his store from Nelson's Bridge St to Sundial Square about two months ago.

"It's cleaner, the people are happier, there is more foot traffic resulting in sales and it's just a better environment," he said.

Richmond Unlimited committee member Nathan Smith said developers and business owners recognised Richmond had room to grow.

"And with Tasman District Council being proactive about growth it is easier for development to happen."

Mr Smith said development was pretty much exhausted in Nelson and he had seen more and more businesses shifting, planning to shift or opening satellite offices in Richmond. "Richmond's easy to access, user friendly and it has free parking - which is a huge bonus."

He said it was great to see a positive vibe in the town as the economy started to pick up.

Richmond was only going to get bigger. Developers and business owners recognised that and wanted to get in on the ground floor.

"It would be nice to think that by summer there will be no empty shops in Richmond - but there is a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes to achieve that.

"It's a good change because it has been negative for so long."

It's not just retail on the rebound.

Currently at least six developments of varying size have recently been built or are under consideration or construction around the town and vacant shops are being snapped up.

Included in the lineup of new commercial offices is Summit's new Queen St building which opened some 16 months ago and the impending opening early next year of what will be the region's largest cut-price developments - the side-by-side construction of Kmart and The Warehouse.

The construction of a new commercial building on Wensley Lane is under way. The building will include Nelson-Tasman's Civil Defence headquarters. Also, the first round of the public submission process is open for the proposed new Foodstuffs supermarket on the corner of Gladstone and Bateup roads.

Network Tasman is also seeking to increase its current Gladstone Rd footprint and has plans to demolish the two-storey building it owns on Queen St. Its adjoining three-storey building will be remodelled.

Council transportation manager Gary Clark said the increase in the town's commercial construction was being fuelled by the availability of suitable sites, the recognition that Richmond was growing and the fact the town was easily accessible.

In response the council planned to work on a parking strategy which may see some long-term parkers moved into the sidestreets to improve short-term parking turnover in the town's main parking zones.

The building boom will dovetail into the upgrade of Richmond central's water and wastewater services, some amenity upgrades and the lowering and reseal of Queen St.

In addition the majority of developers were working with the council Urban Design Guide to ensure new or remodelled buildings have architectural merit.

"Richmond does not have a lot of history in its Queen St buildings," Gary said.

"And anything we build now is going to be around 30 or 50 years.

"We want to make sure they have some aesthetic merit and do not all look the same," he said.