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Noel Leeming On The Move In Blenheim

Blenheim’s Noel Leeming appears to be moving from the town centre to the Westwood Business Park, if documents provided to the Marlborough District Council are anything to go by.

The appliance store has been named on painting and lighting fit-out plans, provided as part of a building consent application for a new commercial development at Westwood beside the Middle Renwick Rd roundabout. Construction on the site is already under way.

The development was first granted consent in 2022, and was described as a two-storey “neighbourhood shopping” complex, originally to be made up of “smaller retail spaces” with professional office spaces above. Larger format retail was mentioned in the plans but not included in the consent application.

However, the consent was altered in December last year. The new plan was for only single-storey large-format buildings, and a different layout was proposed, with retail spaces and a café.

A council spokesperson confirmed that Noel Leeming’s lease of its building, on the corner of Charles and Queen streets, would end in October, and the council were in discussions with a new tenant for the building.

A spokesperson for the Warehouse Group, the parent company of Noel Leeming, said the company could not comment at this stage.

The current Noel Leeming site was shared with other businesses, such as the Marlborough Health Hub and Civic Family Health Care. Noel Leeming had been there since mid-2003. Property records showed prior to this the site hosted a Farmers retail store, which opened in the 1980s, and later a Supervalue supermarket.

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It also neighboured the former civic theatre which in 2007 raised concerns that Noel Leeming could move out to Westwood Business Park and draw shoppers from the town centre.

Westwood’s developer, Outer Limits Ltd, first applied for resource consent for Westwood in 2004, but was turned down by an independent commissioner.

This decision was appealed to the Environment Court, which granted the consent in 2010, originally for a large-format retail building for Bunnings Warehouse or similar, two retail supply stores with an overall focus on the rural sector, a supermarket, a cafe and an unmanned fuel station.

The Environment Court decision limited further development at Westwood for its first five years.

And, for the first 10 years, the business park could not provide a tenancy to any business, tenant or occupant of Blenheim’s central business zone.

That had since lapsed.

Harvey Norman, which had operated in Blenheim’s CBD since 2004, had recently moved out to Westwood.

Their previous Maxwell Rd store was roughly 2000m², whereas the $10m Westwood building was three times that at 6123m², with another 7000m² of car parking and landscaping.

Harvey Norman joined several big retailers at Westwood. Bunnings moved there in 2012 and Pak‘nSave in 2013. Kmart opened in 2019, and Chemist Warehouse in 2021.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ on Air.

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