Owners vow to keep tills ringing

By Anne Gibson

The owners of the $15 million Fox Outlet, founded by economist Josephine Grierson, have vowed to keep the shopping centre open despite a Supreme Court decision overturning its resource consent.

Paul Duffy, chief executive of Fox half-owner Dominion Funds, said the centre already had a second resource consent approved by North Shore City Council that would be used to keep the complex open.

The Supreme Court yesterday allowed an appeal by the giant Australian mall owner Westfield and business group Northcote Mainstreet against the council and Fox owner Discount Brands.

The court held that the council was wrong not to notify Discount Brand's resource consent application and that it failed to ascertain the potentially adverse effects of the shopping centre.

Westfield (NZ) director John Widdup said the ruling would force councils to review their practices when granting resource consents.

Westfield (NZ) executive manager business David Drew said the company had not yet decided whether to challenge the second consent.

Grierson, who was not available for comment, founded the 56-shop Fox centre on Akoranga Dr, but later sold a half share to Dominion. The 4000sq m centre opened last year.

Although the centre was outside the council's retail area and would cause high traffic activity, the council decided not to notify Discount Brands' application.

So Westfield, which manages $32 billion worth of property worldwide and with 11 malls throughout New Zealand, went to the High Court and had the approval overturned.

The court ruled the consent did not take into account the social and economic impacts of the centre.

Discount Brands responded by taking matters to the Court of Appeal to have the approval reinstated, defeating Westfield last June.

Westfield owns malls at Takapuna and Glenfield and has approval for a Albany super-mall, approved by the same council on a non-notified basis.

Duffy said yesterday Fox's "honeymoon" opening period was now over but many retailers - including Pumpkin Patch - were exceeding their trading expectations at the centre.

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