By DAVID MOASE
IF THE man behind a proposed legal brothel in a south Coffs Harbour industrial estate hopes to start operating any time soon, he will have to deal with Rob Gaden first.
Mr Gaden runs a manufacturing business from a unit in the Gateway Centre at 25-27 Hurley Drive. It is the same unit where Neville Wallbridge hopes to establish a brothel.
A development application for the brothel was sent to Coffs Harbour City Council last month but rejected because the council said the plan needed the approval of the other Gateway unit owners.
Mr Gaden is unconcerned by any plans and confidently brandishes his lease for the premises.
"I have this lease, which runs until September 1, 2006, with the owner of the unit who is not Mr Wallbridge," Mr Gaden said.
"If there has been a change of ownership I haven't heard about it.
"The lease also gives me the option of another 12 months, which would take it to 2007, and at this stage I intend to take that up."
Tenants and unit owners in the Gateway Centre received information in September outlining the plan for the brothel.
Prepared by town planning consultant Kerry Power, the documents refer to Mr Wallbridge as a 'developer' who 'operated his business in Coffs Harbour for seven years and now must find suitable new premises'.
Mr Wallbridge was the manager of the brothel at No 17 Grafton Street, which was closed by the council in August last year.
According to Mr Power, Mr Wallbridge is now the owner of the unit at the Gateway Centre and his application will be resubmitted if he receives the approval of the other Gateway unit owners.
That approval may be hard to come across if a quick visit to neighbouring units yesterday is any indication.
Jeff Clayton, the proprietor of postal and freight business Pack & Send, said he would have to relocate if a brothel moved in next door.
"I have already received one letter of concern from a client who said he would be worried about continuing to do business here with a brothel next door," he said.
Karen Henderson, who runs a wholesale business at the complex with her husband, said she received late-night deliveries and would feel uncomfortable with a brothel nearby.
"It is isolated here, off the beaten path, and I would not like to be here alone with the type of people who would frequent a brothel," she said.