Council moves in to tackle land owners
Unpaid rates and waist-high weeds have moved the Auckland Council to take action against the owners of the Papakura Golf Course.
Owners Paul Webb and Andrew Tauber of Score Trustees Ltd are $27,000 behind on rates payments on the 29 Bellfield Rd property and council officers gave Westpac Bank until yesterday to pay $15,000 on the developers' behalf.
Officers told the Papakura Local Board at its last business meeting that Westpac would pay the fee and then seek the money from the owners.
Rural fire officers have also assessed the long grass on the property as a fire risk and the council is to serve Score with a fire hazard notice.
Score will be given one month to fix the problem after which a council contractor would do the work and Westpac would again be billed.
Local board member Michael Turner suggested that if Score did not pay its debts Westpac could take steps to foreclose on the property.
A proposal to modify the encumbrance on the golf course was unanimously rejected by the local board at the same meeting.
The proposal from Mr Webb involved building 63 two or three-bedroom houses on the land, to be targeted at the retirement market.
The board members turned down the proposal but the council's southern planning manager Manoj Ragupathy said the developers could not be forced to operate the land as a golf course.
The encumbrance says the owner "will not exclude at any reasonable time any member of the public from using the land as a golf course" but Mr Ragupathy's legal advice was that Score was not breaching the encumbrance as the wording was ambiguous.
Although the encumbrance was the local board's responsibility, any plans to buy the land would be a decision for Auckland Council, Mr Ragupathy said.
But letting the council take the reins would be unwise, local councillor Calum Penrose told the board.
He said Mr Webb had already approached other councillors with a proposal last year.
Mr Penrose was concerned that councillors with no interest in South Auckland would push to have the course developed.
The report on the Papakura golf course, including Score Trustees' proposal and a copy of the encumbrance, can be viewed at aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/AboutCouncil/meetings-agendas/local-boards/ or at the Papakura council offices at 35 Coles Cres.