25 Mar 2014

Don't make CBD rules 'too tight'

1:22 pm on 25 March 2014

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend says it's essential that Christchurch has a vibrant central city but he doesn't want to see rules that are too prescriptive.

Christchurch City Council has announced plans to curtail commercial growth in the suburbs as businesses desert the CBD for areas on its outskirts.

There's been a boom of new office blocks on the city's outskirts as businesses grow tired of waiting for the central city rebuild.

City planning manager Brigitte de Ronde says just over 700 businesses have relocated into residential and industrial zones.

She says the plans will be notified by the middle of the year and it's hoped they will be fast-tracked using the Earthquake Recovery Act; to be in place within two years.

It's hoped the new rules will be in place within two years but inner city landlords say the changes will come too late.

Mr Townsend says he understands the concerns of inner city office owners but the rebuild has only just begun.

He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme he worried about rules that were too dogmatic about what could and couldn't be built in the city, including its suburbs.

The council says businesses moving out of the central city and into the suburbs are causing parking problems for those living there; something central city landlord Ashton Owen says the council should have foreseen and acted sooner on.

Mr Owen says the counbcil's plans are too little, too late.