Supermarket traffic worry for neighbours

Traffic generated by a proposed $23m Countdown supermarket for Hamilton's eastern sector is of concern to neighbours.

Progressive Enterprises has applied for resource consent to build the supermarket on a Peachgrove Road site, which was bought from Mighty River Power in February last year.

The single-storey supermarket would have a floor area of about 4000 square metres, and two customer entries, plus a service entry off Peachgrove Road.

Hamilton City Council staff recommended it be given the go-ahead, with conditions imposed.

When the proposal was announced many eastside residents couldn't wait for a supermarket in their neck of the woods, but the cars it will bring worry surrounding residents.

"Traffic is obviously an issue of considerable importance to you," independent commissioner Alan Withy told the three submitters at the resource consent hearing yesterday.

The supermarket would generate around 5000 car trips per day - around 600 at peak hours - said a Gray Matter transport impacts report.

"Peachgrove Road has previously demonstrated its ability to accommodate, although at a poor level of service, higher traffic volumes than anticipated from the supermarket," the report said.

But there would likely be intermittent congestion as people waited to enter the supermarket, and residents of properties opposite could face "severe delays" trying to turn right in or out of their property at peak times.

That was among the concerns of submitters Sean Ryan and Melanie Hawke, who live across the road from the proposed development.

"It is the norm to have nose-to-tail both directions for extended periods of the day on this street already," they said.

"After all the money spent on Wairere Drive to remove traffic off our road (as promised by the council) is going to be negated by the development of this supermarket."

But many concerns were based on historical information from when more than 20,000 vehicles a day were travelling on Peachgrove Road, transport planner and traffic engineer Joseph Phillips said.

Phillips gave evidence for Progressive Enterprises and said the development could work at the site with no more than minor "adverse traffic effects".

But conditions should be imposed, including restricting large B-train delivery vehicles to a right-turn entry at the northern access.

A widened median strip was also proposed and Phillips said that would actually increase safety for residents.

Planning consultant Michael Foster, giving evidence on behalf of Progressive Enterprises, agreed.

"One point four metres is not wide enough for a vehicle sitting in the middle of the traffic lane," he said.

Long-time Peachgrove Road resident Robynanne Pene was worried about how closeness of the southern customer access to her driveway.

But Progressive Enterprises adapted its plans to create seven clear metres between her driveway and the access.

"They have obviously listened to me, so I am quite happy with that result," Pene said.

Typically, decisions on resource consent are available within 15 working days of when the hearing closes.

Waikato Times