City car parks to be used by shops

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 05/02/2014

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City fringe shops in Nelson have joined in on wanting to beautify the area outside their premises, and the council has agreed to free up car parking spaces to allow that to happen.

The works and infrastructure committee has agreed to a "place making trial" outside premises in Nile St and Alton St, which will use three car parking spaces.

Place making is a phrase coined by the council to describe a concept that encourages the public to enhance spaces for general public use. The main contribution from the council is to give permission for this to happen.

City council group manager for infrastructure Alec Louverdis said in lay terms, it was a space where anyone could sit and linger, meet friends, and enjoy their lunch bought from the premises or from elsewhere.

The council approved a 12-month trial for the three car parks from two separate applicants, for $825 per space and a one-off $1000 bond. Each also has to confirm at least 50 per cent support for the idea from surrounding retail businesses.

Councillors heard that one applicant had already achieved the required level of support.

Not all councillors agreed with the idea. Councillor Tim Skinner said there had to be more creative ways of beautifying areas than using car parks, which he considered too valuable to lose, particularly on the city fringe which was used daily by city workers to park their vehicles.

From his own experience and from talking to businesses, he said buyer behaviour was influenced by whether they could park easily outside the outlet they intended to use.

Mr Skinner wondered why someone might want to eat their lunch in a car parking space.

Councillor Matt Lawrey said there were plenty of examples in the inner city of people doing just that, triggered years ago by the former Chez Eelco which set up outdoor dining in a car parking space.

"There are people eating and drinking in what used to be car parking spaces up and down Trafalgar St."

Mr Lawrey said it came down to thinking about what sort of city did they want Nelson to be: dull, or interesting and one that encouraged new ideas, especially ones that did not cost the council money.

"It's important to remember this is just a trial, and as of this morning, we've now got extra car parks in Buxton Square," Mr Lawrey said, with reference to the council's decision not to landscape the revamped toilet block, but create three car parks instead.

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- The Nelson Mail

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