Plans for a new bottle store near multiple child-care organisations in Hastings have come under fervent opposition.
It is understood the store at 908 Heretaunga St East, currently used as a fast-food outlet has been sold to new owners who intend to sell alcohol from the premises.
The Hawke's Bay District Health Board said it opposed the plans, primarily because there were a number of schools and kindergartens close-by, and members of the community were worried about the harm it could cause.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Rachel Eyre said in the region, alcohol contributed to many health issues, acute and chronic, and at higher levels than seen nationally, with one in four adults in Hawke's Bay drinking hazardously. The national average is one in five.
"Hastings already has a lot of bottle stores, higher than the national average and higher than the Hawke's Bay average. The area planned for the new bottle store is in a residential and more deprived area where there are a number of schools and early childhood education centres."
Dr Eyre said the DHB had heard from a number of representatives from the community all expressing their concern at the proposal, and a number had also opposed the alcohol license application.
Parkvale Kindergarten head teacher Pam Briggs said they had made a submission to council regarding the issue. She believed there was no need for a further liquor store given the proximity of New World and Four Square.
"The area that it is going to be sold from is right on the main road and it is a really busy street already, so we believe it is going to impact on the safety of our children getting to and from kindergarten."
Briggs said they found out about a month ago through a notice sent to them, as well as a sign on the store's front window, which has since been removed.
Since then, they had created a petition for the families who use their service.
"There are lots of people that live in our community and attend our kindergarten who are not wanting to have a bottle store."
The Hastings District has 91 off-licences, not confined just to the central/town areas. Off-licences are broken down into several types and include 12 Bottle stores.
A Hastings District Council spokeswoman confirmed they had received an application for an off–licence bottle store at this address.
"Six objections to the application were received, four of which came in after the deadline for objections had closed. The DHB is entitled to make an objection under the Act," she said.
Hastings councillor and Hastings Ambassador Henare O'Keefe said the city does not need another alcohol store.
"There are enough alcohol outlets in our beloved city to sink a battleship.
"When it comes to the alcohol fraternity, they are a very powerful and influential lobby group and nothing is sacrosanct to them. When it comes to profit, they will do what they have to do to get it across the line."
The current and incoming owners both declined to comment.
The Hastings District Licensing Committee will consider the application at a public hearing on December 14 at 9am in the Landmarks Room, Ground Floor, Civic Administration Building, Lyndon Road East, Hastings.