Groundwork will begin next month on a $120 million retirement village at the old Petone College site, after the Environment Court approved a deal brokered between Ryman Healthcare and affected neighbours.
The 440-resident, four-building village complex will be built at the end of Graham and North streets.
Hutt City Council gave resource consent for the development in February, but neighbours appealed the decision based on its size and appearance and the effects of its four-year construction period.
The compromise included a one-third reduction of the fifth floor of the largest building, restricted hours for delivery vehicles to the village, and tighter stormwater conditions near flood-prone North St, said Andrea Bolton, who led residents' opposition. Residents had to accept longer construction hours on Saturdays, to 4pm, Bolton said.
Residents could not afford a full Environment Court fight, so had to negotiate with Ryman.
"We felt we gave it the fight we could. It's water under the bridge now, and we've got to get used to it."
Ryman corporate affairs manager David King said both parties were winners from the negotiation.
"This is terrific for us. We always wanted the neighbours to be happy, it wouldn't be a success unless everyone's happy. There's a big, big demand in the Hutt for [retirement facility] beds."
Local residents moving into the village would sell their homes, releasing them to new buyers.
Ryman managing director Simon Challies expected the first residents to be able to move into the apartments next year.
The ex-Petone College site had been derelict for more than a decade and was been the subject of repeated arson attacks. Ryman brought in specialist contractors to remove asbestos from the site after a suspected arson in January.
The village will be built in stages and will include apartments, hospital and dementia care, and rest home rooms. A swimming pool, gym, hairdressing salon, movie theatre and a bowling green are also planned.
- The Dominion Post
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