Raglan's bridge to boomtown: 500-section development to begin

The development includes construction of a bridge connecting to Opotoru Road where currently there is just a foot bridge.
DOMINICO ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

The development includes construction of a bridge connecting to Opotoru Road where currently there is just a foot bridge.

Construction of a multi-million dollar housing development, complete with a new bridge, is set to begin.

The 500-section development in Raglan's west has been in the works for the past 10 years but will finally get underway in the next couple of months.

While opponents fear it will dramatically boost the sedate seaside town's population of less than 3000 and leave it looking like heavily developed Coromandel resorts, those behind it say there's no chance of that.

Sophie Peacocke's family are developing a peninsula in Raglan on the Whaingaroa Harbour.
DOMINICO ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

Sophie Peacocke's family are developing a peninsula in Raglan on the Whaingaroa Harbour.

Others contend the town's demographic has already changed dramatically in the last five years.

READ MORE: Raglan warning: 'It'll look like Pauanui'

The Peacocke family are behind the development on family-owned land on the Rangitahi Peninsula through their Rangitahi limited.

Sophie Peacocke, and her partner Sam Laity, who are working as the sales and marketing team, say there is no chance of overdevelopment.

"That's not something we want to create," she said.

"Our family has lived here, it's not like we're outsiders, and we're definitely a bit more creative than that, I'd like to think. 

"The last thing we want is for Raglan to feel like there's big gates at the front of the bridge and nobody is welcome."

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The land was rezoned to Rangitahi Living Zone in 2015, following the decision of Independent Hearing Commissioners on Private Plan Change 12.

The first phase of the project, which will be $27million worth of sales and covers eight hectares of the northern tip of the peninsula, is due to start in April. It includes the construction of a bridge connecting to Opotoru Road where currently there is just a foot bridge.

There are five phases to the development, which will take between 12 to 20 years to complete.

Stage one has 89 residential properties, 36 of which have already been sold.

The average section size is 600 square metres, with a range from 385 to 1356 square metres.

Lots are expected to cost between $200,000 and $400,000.

There is also a design guideline that will encourage people to be "design-focused" with their architecture.

"We want to try to create a variety across the subdivision so it's not all the same," Sophie Peacockee said.

"We want it to look like what Raglan looks like now, different colours and different sizes.

"We're not coming in and flattening this area. It's very much going to be the natural topography as much as possible."

Laity said when they started selling the lots in December 2016, they offered Raglan residents first option.

Construction on the properties is expected to begin around June 2018.

Stage one will also include a 200 square metre commercial site that would be home to a local business.

"We won't be having a McDonalds or anything like that," Laity said. 

From April they will be "pushing go" on certain aspects of the construction.

Raglan has been growing in popularity over the past few years.

Raglan's Chamber of Commerce co-chairman Geoff Kelly has previously said it was a town that was filled with "solo mums, hippies and surf bums" but that has quickly changed over the past five years.

"First thing...there's a lot more money in town. Demographics have changed hugely. 

"Now, there's a lot of international people and a lot of ex-pats coming home. So many expats are coming home and buying here. We're seeing a lot more families in town. More kids, heaps of childcare centres popping up. 

"In five years I can see it becoming a wee bit like Wanaka. I hope it becomes like Wanaka, with a mix of super wealthy and then you've got your transient."

Peacocke said they want the town to grow in a "cool way" and not just tack on inch by inch, moving closer and closer to Hamilton.

Waikato District Council's customer support manager Sue Duignan said the Plan Change decision allowed "seven physically discrete but connected precincts to be developed.

 - Stuff

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