SCOTT HAMMOND / STUFF
The property was, for a time, The Next Door Cafe, before it was a South American restaurant. Before that it was a bar called The Old Bank. (File photo)
Naveen Dutta has scrapped plans for a liquor store for a suburb of Blenheim after the proposal angered locals.
Opponents have raised concerns that children attending nearby elementary and kindergarten could face “dangerous exposure to alcohol” as they walk past the Redwoodtown store on a daily basis.
Twenty-five submissions opposed the license. These included submissions from Redwoodtown School, St Christopher’s Anglican Church, and Redwoodtown Medical Center.
Dutta, who also owns the Picton gas station and the NPD St Arnaud Alpine Store, decided not to waste any more time and money on the project and sold the property.
* The proposed liquor store is “totally useless” according to the church
* Primary school opposes liquor store on its “doorstep” in suburb of Blenheim
“A businessman never dies …” said Dutta. “If someone tries to stop me at a place, I can go [to] another place and do my business there.
Dutta said he would instead look to buy an already operational liquor store, and that there was no shortage of them in the market.
“In the past two months, many liquor stores have been listed on the market.
“For example, Liquor King sells over 20 liquor stores across the country and there are many more for sale in Christchurch, Wellington, Nelson …
“So the money that we would have spent in the Redwoodtown store without a guarantee of having a license, we will use it to buy liquor stores that are already in operation,” Dutta said.
Dutta said he was still in negotiations, but believed he would soon be buying two liquor stores in the South Island and starting his own national chain.
“They are already established, we don’t have to fight for the permit, everything is in place,” he said.
The Cleghorn Street property was, in recent years, a South American pub, cafe and restaurant.
The property’s new facade on Friday suggested the new owners already had plans for the place, a bistro-bar called The Cleghorn, which had yet to open.
Dutta said he was annoyed by underwriters to think his plans were unsuitable for Redwoodtown.
“The police and council did not oppose the request, my files are blank and I am an experienced businessman.
“In the end, these people lost a business for the community and job opportunities,” he said.