Fast-track consenting for new premises

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 05:00 25/01/2013
Gerry Brownlee
Carys Monteath
Gerry Brownlee

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Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has promised more information on central Christchurch project timelines after businesses and leasing agents expressed frustration at slow progress.

Responding to claims in The Press yesterday that lack of clarity and detail on the rebuild was deterring businesses from returning to the central city, Brownlee said their frustration was understandable. "I sympathise with business owners and staff who are tired of operating out of temporary quarters," he said.

"We are at the beginning of a massive CBD build programme and we are working hard, along with the Christchurch City Council, to ensure consenting for new premises is fast-tracked."

Brownlee has asked the Christchurch Central Development Unit to "make a special effort" to keep leasing agents abreast of dates for anchor projects so that their clients can plan their return.

Agents had warned that business owners originally keen to lease space in the new-look city would choose the suburbs without more definite plans and timelines.

They believed the uncertainty made it too risky for many tenants to commit to a lease.

Whare homewares store co-owner Andrew Wheeley says he will not be returning to town, while developer Angus McFarlane is abandoning plans for two new office buildings and selling his site.

Brownlee said the $145 million of construction consents issued within the four avenues in the past 10 months was a vote of confidence from landowners in a healthy future, and work would start in the next few months on the north and east green frames.

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- The Press

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