Havelock North's New World shift will open up village

By Lawrence Gullery

Havelock North's New World supermarket is set to close and be replaced by a number of new shops, extending the village's retail CBD.

Supermarket giant Foodstuffs confirmed the store would close and that it planned to build a new one on Havelock Rd, near the western entrance to the suburb from Hastings.

Property and retail development general manager Marty Price said Foodstuffs wanted to develop a much larger, full format New World on the Havelock Rd site.

"The timing on this site is yet to be determined, therefore design, consents and planning have not commenced. Eventually, once the building has been completed, the current New World will be closed as the new site will be able to cater to the entire Havelock community.

"Foodstuffs will then convert the existing store into other retail tenancies."

Foodstuffs acquired the former Nimons Bus depot site on Martin Place in Havelock North several years ago, when it was looking to develop a store on the parcel of land.

"However, through discussions with council, we have decided not to move ahead with planning on that site and are now focused on the 32-34 Havelock Rd location for a new store. Foodstuffs has no intention to build a store in Martin Place."

Hastings District Council Havelock North ward councillor Wayne Bradshaw said he believed any new development, such as a major supermarket, should be open to public scrutiny.

"The CBD is too important for it not to be publicly notified. One of the major issues of having a supermarket, whether it be at the old Nimons site or Havelock Rd, is the impact it will have on the viability of the CBD.

"At the moment, New World is attached to the CBD. If that changes, what will the impact be of retailing in the CBD?"

Competitor, supermarket company Progressive Enterprises, pulled out of its plan to open up shop in Havelock North last year. It had wanted to build a Countdown store on Cooper St but new zoning rules for that area, deemed to be an "employment precinct", did not allow for food businesses.

Progressive took the issue to the Environment Court but its appeal was dismissed. The court said a supermarket in the employment precinct could diminish the viability of the CBD.

The court also said if there was a need for a second supermarket, which could not be accommodated in the CBD, a case for putting one in the employment precinct would be considered.

Foodstuffs' plan for a Havelock Rd supermarket was also located in the employment precinct.

Council chief executive Ross McLeod said plans to build a bigger supermarket in Flaxmere were taking longer than expected but there had been no overall change to the plan. "The Flaxmere plan is a multi-faceted project, of which the supermarket proposal is just one part.

"Hastings District Properties Ltd has responsibility for the commercial development components of this project and continues to work closely with parties interested in the supermarket offering to ensure the development is of the right scale for Flaxmere."

The council was likely to receive further reports on the project over the coming months.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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