Housing Minister Krista Kiuru would assess hypermarket zoning disputes on case-by-case basis
A single mould does not exist that could be applied to all the shopping centre undertakings, minister argues
Minister of Housing Krista Kiuru
Large shopping malls to be erected in controversial locations should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, says Minister of Housing and Communications Krista Kiuru (SDP).
Kiuru refers to large shopping centre complexes that are built on the outskirts of regional centres.
According to law, the so-called "car markets" have to be built in the centres of the communities, but in many cities and municipalities it is not clear how far exactly "the centre" extends.
The Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE’s South Karelia Radio reported on Friday that the local decision-makers had expressed their satisfaction with the minister’s “understanding attitude” with regard to the shopping mall undertakings in the southeastern Lappeenranta region.
A civil servant delegation asked a question on Kiuru’s stand when it comes to building outside of community centres, for not all the shops can be fitted into downtown Lappeenranta.
Kiuru refused to start analysing an individual city’s situation to Helsingin Sanomat, but she says that a single mould does not exist that could be applied to all the undertakings in all the provinces.
“From the ministry viewpoint it is difficult to assess all of them. We have to go and visit all the locations individually.”
Kiuru will familiarise herself with the Southern Karelia plans in October. She emphasises, however, that in Finland the drive to a retail store cannot be “ten kilometres”.
Kiuru’s predecessor as the Housing Minister Jan Vapaavuori (National Coalition Party) adopted a very strict doctrinaire attitude towards the scattered placement of retail outlets. Does this mean the new minister has a new and more open-handed policy?
“The policy does not depend on the term of office or the government make-up. The general focus is still long-term land use and the key is to tighten the community structure. We cannot afford to disperse our communities too widely.”
Kiuru declines to estimate how many more so-called hypermarkets could fit into Finland during this four-year government term.
The zoning of hypermarkets and large out-of-town malls has been much in the news in recent years, not least because of connections between this subject and the campaign financing furore that emerged in the wake of the 2007 Parliamentary elections.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Plans to erect 100,000-square-metre shopping mall near Oulu meet with scepticism (5.8.2008)
Members of Parliament revising campaign finance reports (16.5.2008)
Shopping malls are steering euros away from the centre of Helsinki (23.9.2005)
Court rejects zoning plan for Ideapark shopping complex in Pieksämäki (2.12.2009)
Minister denies conflict of interest in Oulu municipal zoning decision (18.8.2009)
Election financiers (20.5.2008)
Dozens of new shopping malls under consideration in Uusimaa (8.3.2011)