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Woolies appeals accessway ruling

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] has confirmed it has been served notice that Woolworths NZ is appealing to the Environment Court against last month’s decision to decline an accessway to its Greytown FreshChoice supermarket.

The appeal was lodged on Monday – the 15th and final working day it could be submitted following the decision made by independent commissioner Lindsay Daysh on behalf of SWDC.

A Woolworths NZ spokesperson confirmed the supermarket chain is appealing the decision but declined to elaborate further on the reasons behind the appeal.

“We won’t be making any comments at the moment as we work through the formal appeal process and engage with relevant stakeholders through that,” the spokesperson said.

Woolworths [formally Progressive Enterprises] has been trying to get this accessway across the line since 2015 when the development was initially proposed to SWDC and granted without public notification.

This decision triggered significant community criticism, and the consent was eventually withdrawn.

SWDC received 82 submissions regarding the third iteration of the resource consent application this year, with 77 opposing the proposal.

Those against the proposal cited issues related to traffic safety, heritage values, stormwater management, and amenity effects.

Submitter Lorraine Hall – who spoke to her submission during the two-day hearing in October – said the appeal will come as bad news for many of those who have opposed the development.

“Everyone’s gutted that they’re not listening to what this town wants,” Hall said.

“It’s emotionally and financially overwhelming.

“I think it’s a waste of time, money and effort, and it’s a big corporate organisation with deep pockets bullying a small town.”

Citing the raft of objections submitters raised during the consent hearing, Hall said she believes the process to date will have already resulted in significant costs for SWDC and ratepayers and that the appeal will continue to have a detrimental impact on the town.

“Woolworths is a big corporation, trying to wear us all down.”

The reasons Woolworth NZ has given for the appeal in its filing with the Environment Court include that the development would “meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations” and “enable social, economic and cultural wellbeing”.

The appeal documentation asserts that the traffic, urban design, landscape, and heritage effects would be less than minor and that the proposal would enable traffic benefits.

It also states that the retention of the 17m copper tree would be mitigated.

It asks that consent for the accessway be granted and seeks the costs of the appeal.

An Environment Court spokesperson told the Times-Age that the appeal will now go before a judge for a case track direction.

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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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