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Tree not out of the woods

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] has granted a certificate of compliance to Woolworths for the removal of a copper beech tree should a proposed accessway be developed.

The certificate is part of a wider resource consent application – now in its third revision – for Woolworths to build an accessway at Greytown’s FreshChoice supermarket.

Approval for future removal of the tree, which is over 70 years old, was granted on May 25.

As the certificate wasn’t part of the publicly notified application for Greytown’s supermarket accessway, the council was not required to upload the decision online.

The tree currently does not have legal protection, as it is not listed on the Notable Tree Register, which is part of Wairarapa’s Combined District Plan.

Efforts to get the tree nominated for inclusion by the Greytown Heritage Trust two years ago were quashed due to a lack of permission from the site owner – Woolworths NZ – to access the site in order to assess the tree.

Although it was noted in the SWDC decision that the Combined District Plan is currently under review, the certificate was granted due to the request’s submission date of 27 April.

The wider Woolworths NZ application for an accessway states “the existing tree on the site frontage contributes to the enclosure and continuity of the Main Street and will be retained [notwithstanding the applicant could remove the tree without consent]”.

The application also accepts a consent conditional to the retention of the tree, or “replacement tree planting for a period of three years following completion of works in the event that the health of the tree is impacted”.

When approached for comment, Woolworths NZ said the purpose of the certificate was to confirm the tree was not scheduled, and that removal is permitted under the district plan.

“Our proposal, as contained in the resource consent application which is currently being processed, includes the retention of the tree. The granting of the certificate of compliance doesn’t change our intention.”

The council has received 81 submissions regarding the wider resource consent application, which maintains that the copper beech tree’s preservation would be a condition of the consent.

On Tuesday, submitters were informed by the council that an Independent Hearings Commissioner had been appointed to sit on the hearing.

Due to a request from Woolworths, the application processing days have been paused so further consultation with relevant parties can be undertaken.

The council said that the hearing scheduled for the end of September will now likely be in early October.

The council said that once a hearing date is confirmed, they will advise on the timeframe, location, and key dates for providing evidence.


  1. What age is this tree ? It looks like it should be protected, surly they could put an access way around it.

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Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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