Supermarket giant Progressive Enterprises is likely to have another go at building a new food store in Havelock North, after pulling out of the plan almost a year ago.
The Hastings District Council has opened the door for a second village supermarket by changing the rules which blocked Progressive's proposal last year to set up a 4200sq m Countdown store in Cooper St.
The area is in a zone set aside for employment activities, where the council wanted to encourage high-value jobs and high-tech businesses.
Retail and supermarkets were identified as not being a major generator of wealth and were considered "low value" by the council when it reviewed the original Progressive plan.
Some aspects of the restrictions were appealed to the Environment Court but Progressive decided to withdraw its bid to change the town-planning rules in May last year.
The council reviewed the Environment Court appeal and had opted to make some changes to the town-planning rules for the village's CBD.
"If there is shown to be a need for a second supermarket in Havelock North that could not be accommodated within the retail precinct due to land constraints, a case for location within the employment precinct, where it is in close to the retail precinct, would be considered," the council said.
A typical supermarket with a large carpark would not meet the objectives of the employment precinct as it would take up a large area of land otherwise suitable for employment activities.
"An innovative approach would therefore be required for a supermarket proposal to help give effect to the employment precinct and relevant retail precinct policies."
The only other supermarket operating in the village at the moment is New World owned by competitor, Food Stuffs.
The council divided Havelock North's village centre into four zones to control how it was developed, redeveloped and expanded.
The zones included retail, industrial as well as employment, mixed commercial and residential use.
Havelock North ward councillor Wayne Bradshaw said he believed any new major retail or commercial development, such as a supermarket, should be "publicly notified" which meant it would be open to public comment.
"I think the village CBD is so important that we need to give every chance for the public to be involved in it."
Four precincts for Havelock North's CBD
Retail - Activities such as cafes within the heart of the village, provides flexibility for a wide range of retail, office and residential activity.
Employment - Supports the retail precinct by providing an area exclusively for employment-generating activity. Encourages a variety of commercial and industrial activities however does limit retail activity and the sale of food.
Mixed use - On the fringe of the village centre, its amenities such as cafes, shops and cinema, access to public reserves, main traffic routes and bus stops, means it is ideally suited to higher residential density housing and mixed-use development.
Industrial - An area exclusively for light industrial and commercial service activity.