A civic leader says he has support for his call for Auckland Council to stop the spread of shoe-box shops on Queen St.

Cameron Brewer, a councillor and chairman of the council's business advisory panel, spoke out yesterday against the trend and said he had a lot of feedback.

"The council can't have it both ways - that is promise a 'world-class city centre,' while at the same time continuing to sign off these tacky little retail spaces," Brewer said.

"While the council can't control the quality of what's being sold, it can nonetheless control the quality of future developments through the likes of its independent Urban Design Panel which perhaps needs to get a bit more involved reviewing more proposed retail consents."

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Ludo Campbell-Reid, the council's manager of environmental strategy and policy, agreed that many smaller units were being created from larger stores but he crossed with Brewer over the effects.

"Smallness is not necessarily a bad thing. Executed well this can be a great way for independent operators to enter the market," he said. "They can create a sense of vibrancy and uniqueness and can play a positive role in developing an authentic and bespoke offer - a point of difference.

"I am assuming that this trend is market-led following an increased demand from smaller tenants. The owners of these properties are therefore merely seeking to meet market demand.

"The same would apply to some of the new developments being constructed on upper Queen St.

"The council is passionate about working to improve the quality of retail offering in Auckland," he said.

The council was working with Robert Gibbs, one of the world's leading urban retail design specialists, who was in Auckland last month hosting presentations attended by property owners, developers and tenants.

Campbell-Reid said: "I have met many retailers in Queen St, New Zealanders and new migrants, who all seem to work very hard and are extremely motivated to do well."