Vineyard sub-division gets go-ahead

Vineyard Ltd
chairman Mark
Davis and
director Jono
Bushell pictured
in this file
photograph at
the Burleigh ...

Colonial Vineyard Ltd chairman Mark Davis and director Jono Bushell pictured in this file photograph at the Burleigh site where 230 homes could be built.

A housing sub-division to build 230 homes at Colonial Vineyard can go ahead after an appeal was dismissed by the High Court.

Marlborough Aero Club Incorporated and New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust lost its five-year fight to have the Burleigh housing development scotched.

Following an appeal hearing in Blenheim High Court last August, Justice Lowell Goddard dismissed the appeal in a decision just before Christmas.

Colonial Vineyard is 21.4 hectares of flat land planted in sauvignon blanc grapes, bordered by Richardson Ave, New Renwick Rd, and Aerodrome Rd.

In April 2011 the syndicate owning Colonial Vineyard applied to Marlborough District Council to change the land's zoning from rural to residential.

The syndicate planned about 230 affordable houses on the site.

Colonial Vineyard Ltd chairman Mark Davis said the High Court decision was a major milestone.

"The longer the process went on the more frustrated we were getting by the costs and time. Thankfully the decisions kept coming in our favour.

"We have spent a significant amount of money during this legal fight. It is a relief to be getting closer to the end point to sub-divide the land. It has been frustrating it took five years for us to get to this point.

"We were confident the whole way. We just had to bite the objections."

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The aero club and museum trust have until the end of January to decide if they would re-appeal.

If the judge's decision was not re-appealed work would start rezoning the land, Davis said.

Resource consent would be subject to the design of the development, Davis said. Colonial would sit down with surveyors and council ahead of project development work but the project would not happen overnight, he said.

Last year lawyers for the trust and club appealed an Environment Court decision to allow Colonial Vineyards' private plan change to alter the zoning on its Burleigh land from rural to residential.

During the appeal hearing at Blenheim's High Court lawyers said the housing development should have been turned down because of its effects on the Omaka airfield and associated business. They feared residents would complain about noise from the planes, leading to curfews and other restrictions that would limit what could be done at the airfield.

Davis said the Environment Court decision agreed the development was too far away to have a noise impact.

Marlborough Aero Club president Craig Anderson said the club and Omaka Aviation Cluster were disappointed the High Court appeal against the plan change has been declined. The committee intends to discuss with members the options open to the club on the back of the decision and will convene a meeting this month.

Anderson said the core issue was the interpretation of the Marlborough District Council's Regional Policy Statement and Plan which mandates protection of the region's air transport system.

"The High Court has ruled that only Woodbourne is so protected. Omaka with up to 30,000 movements per annum, various commercial operators, aircraft maintenance and avgas storage facilities are excluded.

"Unfortunately, now and in the future Omaka will come under pressure from developers with substantial resources."

New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust chairman Brian Greenall said they had taken the legal action to protect the long-term viability of the museum and airfield.

"We seriously don't know how it will affect our long term future. We will now regroup and we will have to double our efforts to protect the museum and airfield."

The Marlborough Aero Club, based at Omaka aerodrome is one of the oldest flying clubs in the country.

Omaka is the main airfield in Marlborough for general aviation. Operations include a helicopter business for crop spraying and frost protection, pilot training and aircraft repair work.

 - The Marlborough Express


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