`Optimistic’ about hearing outcome

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Cobb & Co Dunedin general manager Ange Copson is “optimistic” about the outcome of a public hearing on a proposed deck for the family restaurant at the Dunedin Railway Station.
Conducted by independent commissioner Gary Rae, Monday’s hearing focused on 150sq m of grass at the north end of the railway station, behind a row of cherry trees.
A decision is expected to be released in four to five working days from the hearing, probably early next week.
The Dunedin City Council has entered into a conditional agreement to lease part of Dunedin Railway Station to Cobb & Co Dunedin, and the deck is part of the proposal.
The free-standing deck has been granted resource and building consents, and its design has been approved by Heritage New Zealand as being in keeping with the historic nature of the building.
As part of the public consultation process, the council received 61 submissions, with 45 opposed to the proposal. However, 34 submissions were deemed to be out of the scope of the consultation.
Of the remaining 27 submissions, 16 were in opposition and 11 were in support of the proposal.
Mrs Copson and fellow Cobb & Co Dunedin directors Chris Roy and Christine Strathan were among those who spoke in favour of the project at Monday’s hearing.
“I think it [the hearing] went quite well – people’s concerns over the deck’s possible impact on the trees and the use of the grassy area were addressed,” Mrs Copson said.
“I’m remaining positive that it will all come together and we will get the approval.”
Once approval was given, the $1million fit-out of Cobb & Co Dunedin would start as soon as possible. Building would probably begin in mid-February, and was projected to take about three months to complete.
“Everything is in place – we just have to gather the team together and hit `go’,” she said.
The proposed deck would be built off-site by Dunedin heritage building specialist and Zeal Steel managing director Lawrie Forbes in his workshop, and would be brought to the Dunedin Railway Station in pieces and fitted into place.
Ms Copson said the restaurant, which would be the eighth to be reopened in New Zealand, should be ready to open in June. It was expected to create 40 jobs for local people.