Liquor licence granted to Feilding home business at centre of neighbourhood stoush
A couple who became the scorn of their sleepy neighbourhood for operating a gift basket business from home, have been granted a liquor licence to expand their venture.
More than 40 residents of Mahi Grove, in Feilding, signed a petition in August opposing the home business of Sarah and Richard Walton, Barclae Ridge Gift Solutions. The couple manufacture gift hampers out of their garage.
Residents on the newly-formed cul-de-sac said the enterprise violated a covenant prohibiting any of their homes being used for trade or commercial purposes.
But the Manawatū District Licensing Committee will next week handover an off-licence for the sale and supply of alcohol.
Sarah Walton has operated the business from the house since May. Alcohol would only be part of a gift hamper when specifically ordered by the customer, she said.
The enterprise was opposed by neighbours Roger Locke and Gordon Yule who said it should be run in the commercial section of town and not the residential area.
The duo took their gripe to the licensing committee on August 21, but chairperson Rod Titcombe said neither objector presented evidence specifically relating to the sale or supply of alcohol.
Titcombe said the licence would run for one year, allowing Walton to sell alcohol from Monday to Sunday between the hours of 7am to 11pm.
Walton said the sale of alcohol wouldn't increase traffic, which on average was one courier van per week. The business is run primarily via phone, email and online orders, and does not have a store or showroom.
"There's not going to be huge amounts of stock at any one time. As a general rule of thumb we do not intend to hold a lot of alcohol stock on the premises and would order stock in for orders as required."
Locke believed the addition of alcohol would expand the business and Walton wouldn't be able to predict that growth until it happened.
The slim design of the street did not allow for on-street parking and there were no footpaths. Any increase in traffic would likely congest the road, he said.
While the neighbours didn't have the "appetite" to contest the decision, Locke said they would observe the growth and operations of the business and go back to the licensing committee when the licence was due for review next year.
"That will give us the chance to go back with some factual evidence."
Walton said she would be installing security cameras and alarms to deter thieves.
Manawatū District Council spokesman Paul Stein said when the Mahi Grove development was lodged with the council in 2012, there were no rules requiring a footpath or street parking.
This was changed in July this year and now requires there to be footpaths in any new residential, business or industrial zone development.