Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Businesses angry at road closure for fan zone

Plans to close Hood St in Hamilton for a fan zone with large TV screens have angered other businesses in the street. Photo / Christine Cornege
Plans to close Hood St in Hamilton for a fan zone with large TV screens have angered other businesses in the street. Photo / Christine Cornege

Plans to close Hood St in Hamilton for a fan zone with large TV screens have been cancelled after other businesses in the street said the city council is favouring one business owner.

The Lawrenson Group director John Lawrenson, who has bars and restaurants in Hood St and Victoria St, was outraged Hamilton City Council had agreed to have a fan zone for the Super 15 Chiefs versus Sharks game in Hood St after he was reassured the hospitality sector would be consulted.

And some Hood St business owners who spoke to the Herald were discussing legal action which could have included an injunction to stop Saturday's closure because of the effect it will have on their restaurants and cafes.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said this week Hood St would be closed - pending approval at the finance and monitoring committee today - and the Phoenix Group, which owns two bars, the House Bar and Rodeo Rodeo, in Hood St was paying for a large screen TV to be set up at the intersection by Alexandra St to face its pubs.

But Mr Lawrenson said the council's discussions with the hospitality precinct referred only to a meeting with the Phoenix Group. The other Hood St businesses that spoke to the Herald said they were not consulted and had written to the council yesterday afternoon opposing the road closure.

"Council staff continue to have a culture of no consultation, closed-door meetings and hook-ups for the boys," Mr Lawrenson said.

" And the disrespect shown to hardworking business people throughout the city is no different to the decision-making processes that were followed during the V8s all those years ago."

He said he was not against having a fan zone, but felt the revamped Garden Place was the best place for it.

Cullens Restaurant owner Andrew Cullen said road closures killed his business and benefited only the bars.

"We are absolutely dead against it. It affects our business so, so much when Hood St is closed. It's absolutely awful - it seems to me the big bars on Hood St, and we are talking about the Phoenix Group ... dictate the opening hours of when the street's going to close.

Coffee and Food Establishment cafe owner Todd Lawrence said his turnover would drop about 80 per cent if the road was closed from Saturday morning.

But Hamilton City Council general manager of events and economic development Sean Murray said the council was asked to approve a proposal to close the road for an entertainment zone from the Phoenix Group and he questioned what other consultation was required.

Yesterday he was unaware of any other complaints from businesses on the street.

Phoenix Group director Jason Macklow said it was only one business owner opposing the closure.

- NZ Herald

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