FreshChoice postpone work for review

By Andrew Bonallack editor@age.co.nz -
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FreshChoice will hold off consented works until a proposed judicial review has run its course. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
FreshChoice will hold off consented works until a proposed judicial review has run its course. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Despite possessing a valid resource consent to start work, FreshChoice Greytown say they will wait for the outcome of a proposed judicial review into the consent, to be heard in the Wellington High Court next month.

The Friends of Historic Greytown group have challenged the South Wairarapa District Council's decision to issue a non-notified consent for FreshChoice to create an access way to the supermarket off Main St, with additional parking and a street sign.

The sign shown on the resource consent is a divisive topic, with the Friends arguing it does not suit the historic precinct, but FreshChoice has promised a new design more in keeping with the street.

The group have been fundraising towards the judicial review, so far raising over $40,000.

FreshChoice owner Chris Ward said they are an "involved bystander" in the matter, which will go before a High Court judge on March 7.

He said it is frustrating, but FreshChoice will let the process run its course. "We're going to sit back and wait. I think it would be bullish, a bit defiant, to carry on regardless."

He said he is no legal expert, but his opinion is the judge will not turn the works down.

"The judge could say the resource consent should have been notified, so then the council will run it as a notified consent."

A notified resource consent means the public have an opportunity to put submissions forward before the consent is signed off.

Mr Ward said the public is already making plenty of "submissions" via the Friends' Facebook page and another Facebook page that supports FreshChoice.

The topic has also been debated in letters to the Times-Age and opinion columns.

"If we are going on the current rate of 'Likes' on social media, we are leading three to one.

"Public support is on our side."

He believes the March 7 date is "for mention", meaning it comes to the court's attention, and dates for the review are set.

"The judge's review will look at the processes followed to come to that conclusion [of non-notified consent]."

Mr Ward said yesterday the first sign design meeting with Greytown designer Jo Lysaght took place with himself, Greytown community board member Ian Farley and council planner Russell Hooper.

"We're starting the process for signage concepts that will hopefully be more unique and more current for Greytown."

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