Timaru CBD group concerned Showgrounds Hill assurances will not be upheld

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Timaru CBD group concerned Showgrounds Hill assurances will not be upheld


An artists impression of a proposed change to the Showgrounds Hill resource consent that would allow a building to increase from one level to two.

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An artists impression of a proposed change to the Showgrounds Hill resource consent that would allow a building to increase from one level to two.

A Timaru group is worried any changes allowed to Showgrounds Hill resource consents is “effectively allowing the death by a thousand cuts” to the town’s central business district (CBD).

Timaru CBD chairperson Allan Booth said they are concerned with the transparency of the Sale and Purchase agreement between TDHL and the current landowner, and how that is being implemented.

“For example, it was our understanding that no retail under 500m2 and a tavern would not be permitted until 2025,’’ Booth said.

The site’s developer Redwood Group wants to change one of three buildings in stage one alongside Evans St/State Highway 1, from a single storey to a double storey.

READ MORE:
* Sale and purchase agreement for Showgrounds Hill development released
* Countdown, Bunnings Warehouse, confirmed for Showgrounds as sale completed
* Judicial Review planned against Showgrounds Hill development
* Showgrounds Hill retail development gets consent go-ahead in Timaru

The Timaru Herald understands part of this building has been leased to the nationwide Lone Star franchise which Tony Gapes of Redwood Group called a restaurant rather than a tavern which is not permitted on the site until April 2025 under the sale and purchase agreement.

Booth said the CBD group believes requests to make changes to the land use consent will be ongoing as this has been the behaviour in the past of commercial property developers.

“Effectively allowing the death by a thousand cuts of our CBD,” Booth said.

Booth added the group is “not happy and very concerned that a slight on the definition of the food and beverage retailer described within the Deed of Variation as a “tavern” could be potentially circumnavigated so easily by simply calling it a tavern.

“This calls into question the robustness of the Sale and Purchase and the Deed of Variation agreements which Timaru District Holdings Limited entered on behalf of council, and TDHL’s willingness to uphold it.

“While we accept there will be minor changes to the building design and layouts required to facilitate specific future users, we are concerned that small incremental changes may lead to larger fundamental changes in the occupancy and use of the buildings, thus undermining the retailers in the town centre.”

Booth’s response Gapes’ claim that Timaru’s CBD is a “fairly ordinary precinct” was that it was Gapes’ opinion and to a degree he was correct.

“In our opinion, due to the lack of public investment over the last 25 years, our CBD has suffered. Our private investors, as a result, have not in turn had the confidence to spend money.”



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