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Historic Greytown’s special supermarket

By Seamus Boyer

People who live in Greytown rightly think it’s a great little town.
But then again, there are plenty of nice little towns around, and no doubt the people that live in those think they are pretty special places to live as well.
The difference is, some in Greytown believe what makes it special is its historic character, and are fighting to preserve that.
As part of that, the town’s supermarket, FreshChoice, has become their target.
Local franchise owner, Chris Ward, and parent company Progressive Enterprises, want an entry/exit on Main St/SH2 to allow better access to the store.
They also want signage on SH2 to better advertise their business.
Both are entirely understandable from a business point of view.
Local group Friends of Historic Greytown is adamant that the development would spoil the town’s character, and have so far succeeded in stopping it.
Through fundraising they have managed to raise nearly $43,000 to fight the project through a judicial review.
Progressive Enterprises has now surrendered its consent application, meaning the review doesn’t need to go ahead.
Mr Ward has hinted that another may follow, so the fight may begin once again.
But what is it exactly that the Friends want?
According to their Givealittle page, it’s fairly simple.
“The character and charm of the Historic Heritage Precinct is a major draw card for visitors and locals alike.
“Our aim is to protect it in order to attract customers to Greytown so businesses thrive.”
Would not a better signposted supermarket also help with this?
Lots of people skip the town altogether rather than stop, carrying on to Featherston or Carterton to do their shopping once they see a (more visible) supermarket.
The Friends also say a new carpark would not be “aesthetically pleasing in the precinct”.
But there are other buildings (and carparks) in the town that could be similarly appraised.
Greytown’s The Hub development may prove the basis to a good solution.
While modern and far from blending in with its surroundings, the building works.
It is architecturally interesting, and does not seem out of place in the ‘historic’ setting.
If Progressive Enterprises comes back with a sign that is less obtrusive, that could well be enough to please many of the interested parties.
Perhaps a short conversation months ago to this end could have avoided all that money spent on lawyers.


  1. Greytown is the most desirable town to live in the Wairarapa and property prices here reflect that. This is largely because of the undeveloped nature of the place through the 1960s-90s and the retention of the character of the properties along Main St. So it is hardly surprising that local people want to maintain that look. If Mr Ward wants signs advertising his supermarket to passing motorists, they need to be kept out of the characterful area along Main St. A discreet sign can easily be placed next to the garage on the corner of Humphries St at the south end and North St at the northern end. There’s no need to have a supermarket sign in one’s face in the nicest part of the town.

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