War over Woolies in Cardiff

CARDIFF businesses have threatened to blockade a $15 million Woolworths development if the company continues to refuse to keep its promise to maintain car parking and public toilets during construction.Cardiff Chamber of Commerce said jobs were under threat because Woolworths reneged on its promise and Lake Macquarie City Council failed to ensure it was kept.Chemmart Pharmacy owner Bob Godhard said customers were complaining about the lack of toilets and parking and trade had suffered as a result.Chamber president Robert Denton said if the promise was not kept, business owners and residents would "take protest action to deny access to the development site by parking their cars bonnet to boot all the way around the perimeter of the site".The council sold Woolworths public land for the development, including about 40 car parking spaces and public toilets.Woolworths had promised at a public meeting before about 100 people in October 2007 to keep 40 spaces open and provide temporary public toilets during construction, Mr Denton said.He said the council had broken a commitment to place those conditions on Woolworths.A Woolworths spokesman said the company had "made a commitment to the council" to provide car parking spaces during construction."We'll try as much as possible to keep around 40 spaces," he said.He said the company was checking what commitments were made about toilets.A council spokeswoman said the council was "still investigating toilet options for Cardiff". But a leaked council internal memo, dated December 22, said Woolworths had refused to "assist council in the provision of temporary public toilet facilities".It said council staff had investigated a number of options for temporary toilets and "recommend that we do not proceed . . . due to the significant cost involved".

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