Swarbrick Frankton – Local dairies

The seven dairies in Swarbrick conform to only a few of the standard stereotypes; none are actually corner dairies , none have an association with alcohol sales, only 3 have an association with take-ways (Greenwood, Massey, Blackburn) and while there is competition from supermarkets opened for longer hours and petrol stations selling extended ranges of goods, this hasn’t reduced the demand for the local dairies and small grocery shops.

Blackburn St Dairy

Dairies offer an independent way to own your own business, and the older dairies were often based on people building a room onto the front of their houses and set up a shop selling a few grocery items, confectionery or other easily handled goods.

Massey St Dairy

One aspect of high-level planning using large amounts of data is that the resilience of entry level businesses is often underestimated. A report entitled Rotokauri – Land demand for new commercial centres – Appendix to PDP Chapter 3 (pages 233 to 366) estimates a gross ratio of 1 dairy per 2,600 population, with three quarters of these being part of a group of local convenience-type shops.

When we look at the Swarbrick area in more detail, we see the local population for each dairy can be less than half of what the reported council survey suggests as a benchmark. Also, there’s a whole range of different types of customers that provide the economic base for these mainly stand-alone dairies. Here the report writer provides an important reminder to over-controlling town planners:

“Planning for specific dairy locations within a structure plan exercise can be at too detailed a level. Nonetheless, dairies are an important feature to neighbourhoods” … “site-specific selection for dairies is seen as very fine detail and is felt to be best left to future assessment once actual subdivision and local roading details are precisely known.”

Swarbrick Local dairies

It is likely that using the approach of waiting until “details are precisely known” may not be a useful way of assessing locations for dairies. A better use of Council resources may be to make it very easy for shops to open businesses in the location they want, and where it suits and is convenient for investors and their customers.

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