CBD fears in Claudelands plan

By Nikki Preston

A move to encourage hospitality, retail and office space around Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton is sparking fears it will create a "mini town centre" rivalling the struggling central business district.

Businesses in the CBD say the proposal in the city council's district plan to rezone Claudelands is "hypocritical" and "confusing" and will destroy the work being done to revitalise the struggling CBD as it competed against The Base and Westfield Chartwell.

The rezoned area to allow for offices and small scale retail, licensed premises, cafes and restaurants and commercial would be one-and-a-half times bigger than the existing CBD's south-end hospitality block which includes Hood St, Alexander St, Collingwood St and south Victoria St.

Hamilton Central Business Association general manager Sandy Turner said the council's plans for Claudelands were "almost hypocritical" when it was constantly saying it supported the CBD.

"Obviously by allowing further licences and changing resource consent, it's just going to continue to dilute the crowds. From my perspective it's not pro-active around revitalisation of the CBD," Mrs Turner said.

"It's a huge amount of space and it is really quite frightening."

Lawrenson Group chief executive John Lawrenson said the proposed business zone was too large.

But Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said it was a good move for both the success of Claudelands and the greater city.

Submissions for the proposed district plan open on Monday.

Sizing it up:

• The proposed Claudelands area to be rezoned, including the western side of Heaphy Tce and the southern side of Brooklyn Rd, is about 3.4ha.

• The block bound by Victoria, Hood, Collingwood and Alexandra Sts, largely making up the CBD's south-end hospitality precinct, is about 2.4ha.Businesses say 'hypocritical' idea will undercut work to revitalise struggling central-city area

- Hamilton News

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