Fresh food market plan opposed

Foodstuffs wants to build a supermarket and cafe on this Midland St industrial site, but a council planner has recommended the proposal be declined. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Foodstuffs wants to build a supermarket and cafe on this Midland St industrial site, but a council planner has recommended the proposal be declined. Photo by Gregor Richardson.

A proposed Dunedin supermarket specialising in fresh food and a market atmosphere should not go ahead, a council planner says.

The Raeward Fresh store and cafe has been proposed for an industrial site in Midland St, South Dunedin.

But the store's retail activity did not fit the site's industrial zoning and could detract from the city's retail areas, the planner said in a report to next week's hearings committee.

Five Raeward Fresh stores operate across the South Island - three in Christchurch and one each in Queenstown and Nelson.

The stores are a retail brand of Foodstuffs, which owns New World and Pak'n Save supermarkets.

In the report, Dunedin City Council planner Darryl Sycamore said the shop, cafe and warehouse would fill an existing 3842sq m building at the corner of Midland and Otaki Sts.

Foodstuffs South Island's Dunedin base occupied the neighbouring property.

The store's proposed 1108sq m retail space would include an "open feel'' market area with "an emphasis on non-processed foods'', the report said.

A butchery area, liquor area and chillers for dairy and produce would be included.

A 203sq m cafe would link to the market but have its own entry and outdoor seating.

Mr Sycamore noted much of the proposal would have very little negative impact on the surrounding area.

However, under the "sustainability'' section of Dunedin's district plan the proposal came unstuck, his report said.

"Particular care'' needed to be given to managing Dunedin's physical resources.

In rapidly expanding cities resource consent errors "may at times be remedied or mitigated by further development''.

"In Dunedin, limited growth means that this does not occur in any significant rate and any errors in judgement may have consequences that have to endure for many years to come.''

Adding a supermarket to the industrial area could undermine "the strategy and integrity of the district plan'', he said.

His report noted Foodstuffs had previously submitted in opposition to other non-complying retail activities in the area, claiming they would "undermine the integrity of the area''.

Mr Sycamore said the proposed store's "size and nature'' could be accommodated in areas zoned for that purpose, such as South Dunedin's retail area and Princes St in the city centre.

The Otago Daily Times asked Foodstuffs whether any of the South Island's five existing Raeward Fresh stores operated on industrial land.

Foodstuffs was also asked why it had chosen an industrial site for a supermarket.

The company replied with a statement attributed to Roger Davidson, general manager of property and development, Foodstuffs South Island: "Whilst this project is in consultation process we are unable to comment.''

Subsequent ODT research showed the Nelson store is on industrial land, while a Christchurch City Council spokesman said none of the three Raeward Fresh stores in that city were.

Two were on commercial land and one on airport land.

The Queenstown store had replaced a supermarket.

Mr Sycamore's report concluded the proposal could "undermine the integrity of the district plan'' and "set an undesirable precedent''.

"As such I recommend that the application be declined.''

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