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Fox Outlet Centre Resource Consent Is Valid

Feb 3, 2006

Court Rules That Fox Outlet Centre Resource Consent Is Valid

The latest legal bid by Westfield, the Australian based multi-national shopping centre owner, to close down the newly established Fox Outlet Shopping Centre on Auckland's North Shore, started by local entrepreneur Josephine Grierson, has been unsuccessful.

The proceeding was the latest chapter in a series of challenges brought by Westfield and Northcote Mainstreet Inc. against the North Shore City Council and the owners of Fox.

In the High Court in Auckland, Justice Lang found that none of the nine causes of action alleged by Westfield had any merit. He ruled that the resource consent granted in October 2004 by independent commissioners appointed by North Shore City Council, is valid.

In a comprehensive judgment just released Justice Lang said:

“"I consider that the time has now been reached for the outlet to operate free from the strain and uncertainty created by the events that have given rise to this proceeding."

In his ruling, Judge Lang says that the independent commissioners appointed by North Shore City Council had all of the information they needed to justify issuing the resource consent on a non-notified basis; they were justified in doing so; and that the negative outcomes predicted by the plaintiffs in opposing the issuing of a resource consent had not eventuated.

"I consider that if there is real concern regarding the future effects of the outlet, they would have manifested themselves in some form by now. Despite the industry of the plaintiffs there is no evidence that any of the effects have occurred.”

Josephine Grierson says the latest High Court decision provides much needed certainty for tenants and the public and gives sensible guidance on several Resource Management Act issues.

Ms Grierson says the Centre has been trading well since it opened in November 2004 demonstrating the strong demand for a discounted retail offering on Auckland’s North Shore. She says the decision now enables Dominion Funds, who manage and also own 50% of the Centre, to conclude negotiations with several major tenants and finalise the retail mix offered to the public free of the uncertainty and costs caused by the court action.

Fox was represented by Alan Galbraith QC, Bruce Stewart QC and senior planning barrister David Kirkpatrick.

ENDS

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