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Builder buys golf course

DUBBY HENRY
Last updated 07:49 30/01/2013

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High-end housing is set to be built in Conifer Grove but it will come at a price.

The Manukau Golf Club has struck a $40 million deal to sell its 18-hole course to Fletcher Residential.

The developer plans to build around 450 houses on the residential-zoned land, including a number expected to be worth more than $600,000.

As part of the deal Fletcher will build a new golf course for the club on Alfriston-Ardmore Rd which the club is expected to move to in 2016.

The club, which owns the 47-hectare course next to the Takanini motorway offramp, has been through several negotiations with developers over the past five years as it looked for ways to reduce its debt and increase revenue.

The move has been coming for some time, club manager Stewart Halligan says.

A Conifer Grove resident, he says he has "some empathy" for those households that back on to the course.

But he says they should have known when they bought their properties that the course could be developed because it has always had residential zoning.

The 700-strong club is feeling positive about its future, with around 84 percent of members voting to accept the deal at a recent club meeting, he says.

As well as an 18-hole course at the new 60-hectare site, there will be a driving range, short-hole course, separate function centre and car park, all of which will help increase revenue and membership, Mr Halligan says.

"Very heavy population projections" have been made for the area where the new course is planned and it will be 8km closer to Botany's golf-lovers.

Conifer Grove Residents Group chairman Jan van Wijk say he is disappointed with the news but has turned down a resident's request to protest the move.

Mr van Wijk, who represents around 850 households in Conifer Grove, says opening the northern end of the suburb to traffic would take away the "quiet enclave" feel for those residents whose houses back on to the golf course.

But he says "wonderful things" are possible if the developer uses the land well.

They could maintain ambience by sticking to the contours of the land and retaining large trees rather than following a "cut and burn" approach, he says.

Mr van Wijk will advocate for the harbour foreshore to be made into a public esplanade rather than covered in housing.

He also understands the access road is to be an extension of Keywella Dr, with Brylee Dr to be joined to the development by a walkway.

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- Papakura Courier

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