It’s Woolies… or Coles… maybe

THE Willow Court Oval had been sold to a developer who would build either a Woolworths or Coles supermarket on the land, Mayor Martyn Evans told last night’s Derwent Valley Council meeting. The information came in the form of answers to separate questions from ratepayer Len Butterworth and councillors Jim Elliott, Damian Bester and Judy Bromfield.

During public question time, Mr Butterworth asked whether the council had received the best price for the land and whether the development of a new supermarket would provide New Norfolk with a competitive retail environment. Councillor Evans answered “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second. He said the purchaser was an experienced developer who had dealings with both Woolworths and Coles.

At the opposite end of the meeting, several councillors had their own questions about the sale. In questions without notice, Cr Jim Elliott challenged the mayor’s earlier statement that the proposed but unspecified development on the oval would bring competition to the local market. In contrast, Cr Elliott asserted that the preferred tenderer had offered less money and guaranteed no competition.

The mayor said there would be competition, as the developer “does both Coles and Woolworths”, but he went on to say New Norfolk did not have the required population to have both supermarket chains operating here. He said a new, larger supermarket would create competition by having a larger range of products on offer.

In follow-up questions, Cr Damian Bester sought confirmation that the oval had now been sold and Cr Judy Bromfield asked whether due diligence had been completed. The mayor answered “yes” to both questions.

The purchaser and purchase price were not disclosed.

Woolworths has had a presence in New Norfolk since the 1970s and Coles once had a variety store in High St.

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