Subdivision gets go-ahead

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 07:15 18/03/2014
Mark Davis
Scott Hammond

Veto overturned: Colonial Vineyard part-owners Mark Davis, left, and Jono Bushell at the Burleigh vineyard that could become a housing subdivision

Colonial vineyards
Derek Flynn
The corner of Aerodrome Rd and new Renwick Rd

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The courts have overturned the Marlborough District Council's rejection of a proposed housing subdivision in Burleigh.

In a decision made late on Friday, the Environment Court has allowed the Colonial Vineyard appeal and cancelled the council's veto over the proposed housing development.

Colonial Vineyard is 21.7 hectares of flat land planted in sauvignon blanc grapes, bordered by Richardson Ave, New Renwick Rd, and Aerodrome Rd in Burleigh.

The syndicate owning Colonial Vineyard applied to the council to change the land's zoning from rural to residential in 2011.

However, the council argued that housing could prevent future growth in helicopters and planes at nearby Omaka airfield and stop potential aviation engineering businesses from setting up there because of noise concerns from residents. It felt the land should be zoned "employment land" to cater for expansion at the airfield and any industrial development on the neighbouring Corlett Trust land.

The court judgement said that would be an inefficient use of the land, and there was sufficient employment land available in Marlborough for the next 18 years without the Colonial Vineyard land being included.

It said there was a need for housing in Marlborough, and not approving the subdivision could lead to a shortage of housing and an increase in prices.

While the council argued Omaka airfield was "regionally significant", the court said that was not reflected in the council's regional policy statement.

The court said it would be inefficient to block housing on the site because of potential noise concerns in the future that might come from possible growth at the airfield. The Colonial Vineyard site had noise less than the 55 decibels threshold for controls, and the court felt there were more likely to be other constraints on the airfield's growth, including noise complaints from the council's Taylor Pass Boulevard subdivision and from operational demands of the potential growth at Marlborough Airport in Woodbourne.

Colonial Vineyards spokesman Mark Davis said yesterday the group was relieved the time and cost over five years had produced a positive result. He said the syndicate believed Omaka airfield was a heritage site worth protecting. It was "highly respectful" of its history and there would be restrictions in the subdivision to stop residents complaining about aircraft noise.

Mr Davis said Colonial Vineyard looked forward to developing a "fantastic" subdivision which would take advantage of the history of the area and the access to the Taylor River walkways and Wither Hills beyond.

"We are local people and our desire is to work together and be good neighbours, so once the dust settles we will get down to finalising the policies and the rules with the council."

These are to be signed off by the end of April and approved by the court before being added to the council's district plan.

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Council chief executive Andrew Besley said the parties would look at the judgement in detail to see if there were any points of law they were concerned about. It was too early to say if the council would appeal, he said.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the court seemed to have placed a lot less emphasis on the importance of Omaka airfield and its future. "It appears that we see Omaka, the museum, and all that activity in quite a different light to the court."

- The Marlborough Express

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