Rezoned land cut by national grid

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 14:09 25/02/2014
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A large chunk of land in for rezoning by the Marlborough District Council could be carved out because the national grid runs through it.

An independent panel is considering seven plan changes for the council which would change seven areas of land to the north and northwest of Blenheim from rural 2 to residential.

The first day of what is expected to be a three-day hearing heard mostly from the council's witnesses, but also included hearing Transpower's submission.

The planning change hearing was heard by independent chairman John Maassen, and councillors David Oddie and Laressa Shenfield.

Council lawyer Peter Radich offered to cut the electricity lines area from the zone known as PC65 because of the difficulty of having an "island" of housing development appear between the two corridors of power lines.

Mr Maassen said this would not be "great urban design".

This proposal was accepted by Transpower's lawyer Dhilum Nightingale who also asked for a 150-metre "management zone" around the Blenheim substation, on the corner of Old Renwick Rd and Thomsons Ford Rd, so that any potential housing development did not cause operational issues for the national grid.

Transpower senior principal engineer Andrew Renton said the state-owned enterprise was already managing noise complaints from neighbours of the substation, and had bought land to the north of the substation to resolve one issue.

The substation was not in the plan change area, he said, but it needed to be considered.

"Intensification adjacent to the substation may cause adverse impacts on it and in turn, the substation may cause effects to our neighbours.

"Constraints resulting from neighbour complaints present a real risk to security of supply. In my experience, these effects can be particularly acute with substations."

New transformers would produce less noise, but they cost $2 million and were not scheduled to be replaced in Blenheim till 2024.

Ms Nightingale said the management zone would not stop development on the affected land, but Transpower would have a role in ensuring it was appropriate and did not interfere with the national grid's operation.

Mr Radich said the proposed carve-out was subject to approval from landowners, who would be consulted today.

He told the planning committee the plan changes were needed by the council to provide more areas for residential development in Blenheim.

The plan change had attracted a "relatively modest number of submissions for and against", he said.

There appeared to be general acceptance of the need for more housing land, he said. Most of the debate was where that development should be.

People were concerned about the loss of high-quality horticultural and agricultural land, reverse sensitivity where new residents might object to ongoing farming and viticultural activities, urban creep, geotechnical issues, and concerns from particular landowners such as Transpower or Talley's.

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- The Marlborough Express

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