Two housing proposals turned down

Housing development in two areas north of Blenheim has been turned down by planning commissioners.

Five other areas have been approved, with four reduced from what the Marlborough District Council applied for. The area most likely to be developed first has been approved in full.

A quarter of that land, on the north side of Old Renwick Rd, is owned by property development firm Deluxe, the Smith family company. Spokesman Greg smith said yesterday that he had yet to see the decision, but it was "good to hear" the plan change had been approved.

It was early days yet and he said he wanted to read the decision first before commenting further.

Council chief executive Andrew Besley said the council had applied for the plan changes to ensure land was available for housing.

He declined to comment further, saying the decisions were subject to appeal and could change.

The council applied last year for plan changes for seven areas of land around the north and west of Blenheim. The proposals were to change the zoning of the land from Rural 3 to Residential 2 under the Wairau-Awatere Resource Management Plan, and to set new rules identifying growth areas and proposing subsoil investigations as a requirement for subdivision.

If approved as a whole, that would have made roughly 210 hectares of land available for housing, with roughly 10 houses per developable hectare.

The decisions, from a planning panel chaired by independent commissioner John Maassen and councillors David Oddie and Laressa Shenfield, approved plan change 64 as a whole.

They also cut land from plan changes 65, 66, 67, and 69. That was land owned by national grid operator Transpower around Thomsons Ford Rd, land behind the Westwood retail development off Middle Renwick Rd owned by Outer Limits, the properties on the east side of Blicks Ln, Provincial Coolstores land on Old Renwick Rd, and two sections of Rene St, adjoining the Outer Limits land by Westwood, one owned by Talleys.

All those landowners had asked to be excluded from the proposed plan changes, and the council had agreed to them all during the hearing process.

The decision also made beekeeping a permitted activity to protect J. Bush and Sons, a 98 year-old beekeeping and honey business on Old Renwick Rd.

The two areas rejected were plan change 68, a block of land north of Old Renwick Rd by Waipuna St, and plan change 70, land around Severne St.

Plan 68 was rejected because the boundary of the zone had shifted from Old Renwick Rd to the north, and excluded large parcels of land with immediate frontage on Old Renwick Rd, because of their risk of potential lateral spread in an earthquake. It was seen as "disconnected" and no longer had many of the "spatial attributes" that had made it attractive for residential subdivision, being sandwiched between two productive rural areas.

Plan 70 was rejected as it was not seen as a good growth area. A significant portion was owned by a landowner opposed to the plan change. There was also a potential risk of lateral spread, which would cost a lot to mitigate.

The Marlborough Express