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Thursday 29 May 2014
Ashburton District Council is seeking feedback on the proposed Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP) which aims to keep the sale of legal highs out of residential neighbourhoods and away from sensitive sites such as schools.
The policy comes as a result of Council looking to control the location of these premises within the district, as provided for in the new Psychoactive Substances Act 2013.
Council Environmental Services Group Manager Jane Donaldson says although a recent amendment to the Act has removed all psychoactive products from sale, this has not changed Council’s need for a policy.
"It is likely that some of these products will return to shelves at some point next year, and Council needs to be ready for when that happens with a policy saying where these stores can be located," she said.
"Developing a policy now ensures that this community can have input into deciding where the stores should be," she said.
Under the Act, a LAPP can restrict where stores selling legal highs (psychoactive products) are located. It cannot ban products or stores altogether.
"If we don’t have a policy, stores will be able to establish anywhere in the district as long as they meet District Plan requirements and comply with the Act," said Ms Donaldson.
The draft policy proposes that the sale of legal highs be restricted to a defined area in the Ashburton CBD.
Ms Donaldson says this area has been identified as the most appropriate location for legal high retailers as it is a highly visible area with regular foot and vehicle traffic.
"Being close to emergency services will also enable effective monitoring, enforcement and access to medical services," she said.
The draft policy also proposes that stores cannot be located within 100 metres of each other to reduce harm caused by clustering of activity.
"Council cannot specify the number of stores our community has, but can ensure that they are spread out to help limit any possible negative effects such as customers congregating and changes in the character of a particular part of town," said Ms Donaldson.
Stores also cannot be within 50m of any "sensitive site".
Council has defined sensitive sites as schools, preschools, kindergartens, early childhood education centres, any residential property and any open spaces used by the community for public purposes.
Residents are invited to have their say on the draft LAPP.
"To get a good understanding of what is proposed, we strongly recommend residents read the full draft LAPP," said Ms Donaldson.
The draft policy and submission forms can be found at:
Ashburton District Council Offices, 5 Baring Square West, Ashburton
Ashburton Public Library
Submissions close at 5.00pm, Monday 30 June 2014.
Learn more about the draft Local Approved Products ("Legal Highs") Policy
Jane DonaldsonGroup Manager Environmental Services