Ruling blocks Frankton mega-stores

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2013

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An Environment Court decision has ruled that Queenstown's Frankton Flats will be open to some retail development, but appears to rule out a proposed Pak 'n Save supermarket and Mitre 10 Mega store.

Although the 300-page decision by Judge Jane Borthwick has not been made public since being released to parties involved, the Queenstown Lakes District Council has had its view upheld on how the last significant area suitable for retail or industrial use should be zoned.

A map released by the council shows that the area nicknamed "Hendo's Hole", after the failed retail precinct envisioned by David Henderson left a large unfinished underground carpark exposed, will be the centre of retail developments, but limits a large amount of space on the Frankton Flats to industrial and service type activities.

The site, owned in two titles by Auckland property developer Tony Gapes, is earmarked for a $125 million mall housing big-box retail and a Countdown supermarket.

The map shows that land near Glenda Dr owned by Shotover Park would be limited to industrial use.

This would rule out a proposed Mitre 10 Mega store and Pak 'n Save supermarket earmarked for the land with a combined $50 million development price tag and the potential to create hundreds of construction jobs, plus many fulltime jobs on completion.

Council general manager of policy and planning Philip Pannet said the ruling showed a clear steer for the future direction of Queenstown's development.

"I think the community has had a concern for a while that industrial activities have struggled to find land they can use," he said

"More and more of these services have gone to places like Cromwell. Transport firms, firms that require storage for concrete and aggregates, and rental cars will now have dedicated space from which to serve the community's growth."

However, in the closing hours of a High Court appeal mounted by Queenstown Central - the company behind the $125 million mall - against a previous Environment Court decision, Judge John Fogarty heard submissions by lawyers involved in the Frankton Flats plan change.

Lawyer for South Island Foodstuffs Nic Soper said his client was already considering an appeal against Judge Borthwick's plan change 19 decision.

"I don't think I'd be letting the cat out of the bag to say that my client is already in the throes of drafting an appeal," he said.

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- The Southland Times

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