Road access and parking at new Auckland mall NorthWest is a bone of contention for customers, and lack of public transport is also an issue, shoppers say.

When the Herald asked for people's experience of the mall this week, many wrote about trouble getting into the west Auckland property and parking once they had arrived.

However other shoppers were complimentary, said the mall was a big boost for the local area, praised the parking, said the quietness was what they liked and said they had become regular customers.

"I have a baby. It was raining. There is no undercover parking," complained Lisa. "Me, bubs and pram got wet. Cause it can take a long time with a child at a mall to get everything done, I got a parking fine."

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Kelly said surrounding roads were an issue.

"I have been put off going to the NorthWest mall because of the badly thought out infrastructure of the roads in and around the mall. As if the one-way roads weren't bad enough then you get to deal with the one-way turns when you do finally get to the lights at the end of the queue."

Torrance complained of lack of public transport.

"It really is the worst mall I've ever tried to go to. To get in and out, you have to go through a one-way shared space with pedestrians and take turns letting traffic through from the other direction. There's also no public transport. I also couldn't for the life of me find the entrance to the Countdown."

Werner complained about traffic lights: "Instead of roundabouts that make traffic flow, they have installed a traffic light every few hundred meters. This might be another reason why people avoid the place. It is just crazy to have this stop-wait and finally a green light to move another few hundred meters to the next red light and repeat the same."

It seemed as if, in order to open on time, that they'd opened the mall before the supporting infrastructure had been put in place. Inside, it was deserted.

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Steve

also complained about the roads: "We went to NorthWest mall shortly after it opened. Haven't even thought of going back. It was difficult to find our way into the car park. It seemed as if, in order to open on time, that they'd opened the mall before the supporting infrastructure had been put in place. Inside, it was deserted."

Rod complained about noise and music: "My partner and I have been to the NorthWest mall on a couple of occasions since it opened. We are retired people. I will not go back while the centre continues to boom loud music throughout its retail area. It is a cacophony of sound, which makes conversation difficult, and makes shopping a stressful experience, rather than a pleasant outing. Across the road, Westgate is much more relaxed, less problem to get in and out of, and I can certainly get everything that I need there."

We are retired people. I will not go back while the centre continues to boom loud music throughout its retail area. It is a cacophony of sound, which makes conversation difficult, and makes shopping a stressful experience, rather than a pleasant outing.

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Other shoppers were complimentary.

"I frequently shop there," wrote Peggy. "Driving from the Shore takes only a short time. I usually meet friends there. I love the quietness of the mall and variety of shops. Farmers a treat to shop in."

Jo was also enthusiastic: "Absolutely love it. Living in West Harbour it is either a trek to Albany or Henderson to go to some of the shops that are now available five minutes away. Great area, great mall and great retail staff," said Jo.

Margot agreed: "I live in Te Atatu Peninsula and there is very little there in the way of decent shops. The Countdown at NorthWest is brilliant. Great range of banking facilities. Max, Glassons, Farmers, Novo, Merchant 1948, Hannahs, fantastic gift shops, jewellery and cafes - all shops I go to on a regular basis. Best of all, I no longer ever need to go to WestCity/ Not one of my friends ever go there anymore - all of them go to NorthWest or Albany and all live between West Harbour and Helensville. Parking is great too."

A former NorthWest retail worker told how patronage reduced after the October 1 opening.

"I know how quiet the NorthWest mall is. I worked in one of the many cafes when it opened with upwards of six plus staff a day during the first two weeks. Then, as it got quieter, staff was laid off and people left and I ended up alone in the cafe with the owner and chef," the former staffer said.

Absolutely love it. Living in West Harbour it is either a trek to Albany or Henderson to go to some of the shops that are now available five minutes away. Great area, great mall and great retail staff.

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In response to Herald inquiries about the mall's performance, owner Stride Properties referred to the NZX announcement out this month.

That cited the October completion of NorthWest Two, a new restaurant and office development beside the shopping centre. It also said the mall was in a stabilisation phase "as customers in the area become familiar with the centre."


See a Google Map showing the location of the new NorthWest mall here: