Cromwell’s ambitious, multimillion-dollar town centre development faces challenges from other commercial activities, earning the Cromwell Commmunity Board another reminder to “get on with it”.

Central Otago District Council properties and facilities manager Garreth Robinson said the challenges include the council’s purchase of more land for commercial development and Wooing Tree Estate’s recent decision to develop a competing commercial area.

Last week the board appointed Cromwell Community Board member Werner Murray to an advisory group to work on designs for the town centre development.

When finalised, the advisory group would also include the project sponsor, the programme manager and one councillor.

The two-year timeframe to complete the designs for the town centre was ambitious and “well-structured governance and decision making” would be needed, Mr Robinson said in a report to the board.

The advisory group needed to “take the community on the journey through the design phase”, as many submitters had told the council to “get on with it”, he said.

One issue that had arisen since initial consultation on the Cromwell Master Plan in 2019 was the council’s purchase of 7A, 7B and 9 Murray Tce in 2020.

These properties were key to the success of the town centre

Another issue was Wooing Tree Estate’s commercial proposal on the other side of State Highway 8B.

Wooing Tree had applied for resource consent under the government’s Covid-19 economic recovery fast track process but no decision had yet been made.

The Cromwell Spatial Plan 2019 focuses commercial and retail development within the town centre precinct.

A Mall Upgrade Group (MUG), made up of town centre business owners, had recently been formed.

This group could act as the external stakeholder group, Mr Robinson said.

He had been interested in the mall project since Cromwell began consulting on the master plan, Mr Murray said.

It had been a long journey and it would be nice to see all the plans come to fruition, he said.