Published 10 March 2010
Progressive Enterprises Ltd will take the first resource consent case directly to the Environment Court under streamlining amendments to the Resource Management Act, bypassing a Rodney District Council hearing for its application for a new Countdown supermarket in Warkworth.
The council has approved the bypass, allowing the case to go to court on Monday 10 May, the start-date for hearing of appeals against rezoning of downtown Warkworth, or – more likely – in late June.
The supermarket group has already struck trouble trying to fit its store into a rezoned Warkworth, wanted to take its objections to matters relating to the process to a judicial review, and has struggled right down to a seemingly straightforward consent application to remove 2 trees to get a clear building site – commissioners refused that application in January.
At each step, Progressive has faced objections from national supermarket competitor Foodstuffs, and also from local developer Neil Barr, whose company, Perrendale Holdings Ltd, wants to develop bulk retail off Woodcocks Rd, west of the State Highway 1 divide of the northern Rodney town.
Foodstuffs counsel Douglas Allan argued in opposition to the Countdown application that Foodstuffs would be directly affected by it. He went on to express concern at “construction effects and the potential effects on the operation & efficiency of the road network & the pedestrian environment”.
But, lest anyone thought this was about trade competition: “In making this submission, the submitter is not raising issues regarding trade competition or the effects of trade competition and is not motivated by trade competition concerns.”
Instead, he produced some of the time-honoured reasons competitors have found to object:
The application was inconsistent with and didn’t promote the sustainable management of natural & physical resourcesIt was otherwise contrary to the purposes & principles of the Resource Management ActIt could generate significant adverse effects on the environment, andIt would be inconsistent with sound resource management practice.
Perrendale opposed the Countdown supermarket on the basis of potential adverse effects on the character & fine-scale pedestrian-oriented retail activities within the town centre, “the strategic direction of retail & business development” in the town and traffic issues.
The Summerset Management Group Ltd – which bought a chunk of Mr Barr’s Woodcocks land for a retirement village and is now majority-owned by AMP Capital Investors Ltd of Sydney – saw reason to object because the proposed supermarket failed to comply with the district plan’s site coverage rule.
One of Summerset’s more spectacularly non-competitive objections was that the Progressive application was “likely to result in more than minor, and unacceptable, adverse effects, including…. effects on the amenity, character, vibrancy, vitality & economic sustainability of the town centre & other areas zoned for large-format retail activities, particularly The Grange & Woodcocks Rd [both on Warkworth’s fringes], and on the Warkworth town centre & surrounding areas”.
It’s always mystified me why any business should believe they’d be taken seriously when they examine, in minute detail, some of the more mundane features of a competitor’s proposal and find them wanting. As, in this case, “the location of the proposed loading docks in relation to other activities, including staff carparking & the other proposed retail shops”. If Summerset’s customers make it across town on their zimmers, will they be wanting to use the staff parking?
13 November 2009: Progressive seeks consent for Warkworth supermarket