Resident fears more road crashes

A plea for caution to avoid road crashes has been issued in the fight over a new supermarket in suburban New Plymouth.

Grant Novak and Shane Burwell of Brooklands Development Ltd have proposed building the city's fourth Countdown supermarket, on Hori St in Vogeltown.

Approved by the New Plymouth District Council, the development has been opposed by seven affected parties, three of whom argued their case to independent hearing commissioner Bill Wasley yesterday.

In his submission, Simon Mitchell said the supermarket proposal would increase traffic on Hori St where he lived and this would significantly increase the chances of car crashes.

"The more vehicles on the road, the more vehicles exiting onto a road or entering a road across traffic, the more exposure we have to an accident," he said.

With many years experience in health and safety in the oil and gas industry, Mitchell said he always went with a precautionary approach to risk. A busy supermarket driveway on an arterial road such as Hori St was something that should be avoided, he said.

Speaking for the developers, traffic engineering consultant Nigel Williams said automobile crashes could be estimated with a formula using traffic flow figures.

He acknowledged the supermarket could indeed lead to more crashes through increased traffic, but no more than any other similar development would.

While the supermarket would generate 3225 vehicle movements per day, Williams said this would only result in about 800 extra vehicles using Hori St, as many of the supermarket's customers would already be driving the street on a day-to-day basis.

"The increase in traffic volumes will be comparatively small for the arterial road network as will related effects on nearby residential properties," he said.

Leading up to the hearing one of the main complaints about the proposal had been a perceived lack of consultation with nearby residents. Just 11 were deemed affected despite the area being surrounded by residential areas.

Lawyer Andrew Braggins quashed any hope by some this might be used to challenge council's approval of the project.

"The appropriate course for challenging a decision as to notification is via judicial review proceedings in the High Court," he said.

Noise generated by the supermarket has also been a widespread anxiety.

Noise consultants employed by the developer concluded just two properties would be affected by noise levels above allowable limits. The owners of those properties have given their approval for the development.

The supermarket is proposed to be about two thirds the size of the Countdown built at Spotswood and include four smaller retail shops. It will have 160 car parks and places for 16 bicycles.

Should permission be forthcoming, developers estimate the supermarket will be open for business within a year.

Taranaki Daily News