Pizza restaurant consent issues cause wedding postponement

Palwinder Singh (centre) owner of Fire and Slice, a new pizza restaurant in Sumner is helped by friends to place the front end of an iconic Land Rover over the top of the pizza ovens. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

Getting the right consents to open a pizza restaurant in Sumner took so long, Palwinder Singh had to postpone his planned wedding in February.

The space at 7 Wakefield Ave was vacated by Stoked Surf, Snow and Styleabout a year ago.

Mr Singh took over the lease in May and intended to open a wood-fired pizza and pasta restaurant called Fire and Slice, with indoor seating for up to 20 people.

But getting the required consents has taken five months longer than expected. However, he hasn’t been put off by the process.

“To be honest, the whole thing has been challenging, exciting and really good learning. It’s not all negative. It’s been a good challenge, which me and my landlord have sorted out now.”

He said he was initially told by city council staff that new commercial property rules meant all he needed was a building consent for a new fit-out.

But unexpected strengthening work pushed the project out to December.

Then two days before Christmas, city council planners called Mr Singh to say a resource consent was in fact required. It took a further month to prepare the consent application, which was lodged in late January and approved in mid-March.

“Luckily, the landlords, Anthony and Jennifer, have really helped me a lot. I really appreciate their support and patience because they’ve also lost money; they never asked for rent. I salute them,” said Mr Singh.

The final interior work is now under way with an anticipated opening date in the last week of this month.

Originally from the northern-Indian state of Punjab, Mr Singh shifted to Sumner in 2016 after five years working at Poenamo Hotel in Auckland.

While there, he took the opportunity to learn about New Zealand culture, including rugby, which he now follows enthusiastically.

Long weekends visiting the South Island brought an appreciation for its beauty, prompting his move.

“In Sumner you’ve got everything: Movies, cafes, shops, beaches, really good walking and cycling tracks. What else do you need.”

Fire and Ice is Mr Singh’s first food business but he has been working in hospitality since 2006.

His experience from front-of-house to housekeeping and kitchen work has given him a good grounding, he said.

“I’m 100 percent dedicated and I even had to postpone my wedding. It was to be in February but we have put it off till May. She’s not really happy, but after understanding my dedication to the project, she said: ‘Okay, it’s alright’. She supports me.”