Analysis: This week the Christchurch City Council publicly notified a resource consent application from Foodstuffs for a new supermarket and self-service fuel station at 171 Main North Road. What’s being proposed, and what does the community think about it?
Foodstuffs’ resource consent application is open for public feedback until 16 August 2019. I was alerted to this through a Facebook post from Papanui Councillor Mike Davidson, and I put up a post on Think Papanui with some images and a brief description.
A number of questions and issues were raised in comments on Think Papanui’s post, including:
- What will be the impact on Northlands PAK’nSAVE, and Bishopdale New World?
- Is there sufficient parking provision in the proposal?
- What will be the traffic impacts on the area?
- What’s happening with the former Mad Butcher site on the corner?
- Do we need another supermarket in the area?
The full resource consent documents are available through the Council’s ‘Have your say’ website. There’s a lot of detail there – I’ve had a skim through some of them, but can’t claim comprehensive knowledge of the proposal, and I don’t have any inside information. From my best efforts, however, here are some comments on the points above…
The impact on Northlands PAK’nSAVE (and Bishopdale New World)?
Despite initially applying for Resource Consent in 2018, Foodstuffs aren’t currently saying much about how the new store would affect the rest of their supermarket network. In response to questions from Think Papanui about plans for the current Northlands PAK’nSAVE site, and possible impacts on Bishopdale New World, Roger Davidson, GM Property and Retail Development Foodstuffs South Island said on Tuesday “We just lodged resource consent and don’t have much to share right now beyond what’s in our application. We will have plenty more updates to share with the Papanui community over the next couple of months.”
This is despite an October 2018 report in The Press that the resource consent had been lodged at that time, and that “If the plan is allowed to go ahead, Foodstuffs would convert its existing Pak’n Save at the nearby Northlands shopping centre into a New World supermarket.”
The current documents aren’t this explicit. The economic analysis appendix says “To help optimise its network and cater for growth, Foodstuffs wishes to relocate its PAK’nSAVE store at Northlands to a dedicated, standalone building on the site. Then, it will consider the possibility of backfilling the resulting tenancy at Northlands with a New World store.”
A total of 278 car parking spaces are included in the proposal. 110 of these are at ground level and can be seen in the site plans, and another 168 are proposed for an underground car park below the supermarket. The proposed car parking appears to comply with District Plan requirements, with the exception that staff car parks, while provided, are not intended to be marked (this is apparently a crime prevention tactic – cars in marked ‘staff’ spaces can be targeted as they’re more likely to be left for a long period of time).
Traffic modelling submitted with the consent application claims that only around 20% of traffic to & from the site will be ‘new trips’, and the remaining 80% will be traffic already on the local road network. The peak-hour number of new vehicle movements is estimated to be around 100 vehicles in and 100 vehicles out. It’s worth keeping in mind that by the time this development is completed, the Christchurch Northern Corridor will likely have opened, which has been modelled by the NZTA to reduce traffic on Main North Road by around 40%.
The former Mad Butcher site?
The retail site at the corner of Northcote Rd / Main North Rd (most recently occupied by the Mad Butcher & Fresh Harvest) is owned by Foodstuffs. It is noted in the consent application as being ‘currently vacant’. The existing buildings on this site are proposed to be retained, and it’s noted that they “could accommodate a range of retail, commercial service or community activities”. There is no indication in the consent application as to a likely actual future use.
Is another supermarket needed at all?
There is an Economic Analysis provided as an appendix to the resource consent application. The economic rationale for the development includes:
- Demand growth (“if supermarkets maintain their current share of food retailing, future increases in retail expenditure will support an extra 27 supermarkets across greater Christchurch by 2043”)
- Proximity to growth areas
There are a number of other factors in the rationale, including: the site is a good fit for use as a supermarket; there are limited opportunities/sites to establish a large store such as a PAK’nSAVE; colocation with the Foodstuffs head office; increased resilience and post-disaster capability; the site is a poor fit for industrial uses; and industrial land is relatively abundant.
The resource consent application refers to a ‘bottling plant’ that’s currently operational on the site of the proposed development. Does anybody know what product(s) is being bottled there?
Question for readers
Do you agree with the way Foodstuffs has addressed the issues raised by Think Papanui’s readers? Please leave a comment here, or on Think Papanui.