Fliers to battle rezoning

The corner of Aerodrome Rd and new Renwick Rd
The corner of Aerodrome Rd and new Renwick Rd

The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and the Marlborough Aero Club will appeal the decision to allow housing on the Colonial Vineyards site near the Omaka airfield in Blenheim.

The Environment Court last month overturned a Marlborough District Council decision not to allow the Colonial Vineyards syndicate to turn its 20-hectare block of sauvignon blanc vineyard in Burleigh into housing.

The syndicate planned about 200 houses on the site.

However, the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and the Marlborough Aero Club confirmed on Friday they would appeal the Environment Court decision to the High Court.

Centre chairman Brian Greenall said he would not comment on the appeal until it had been lodged and all parties had been served with it.

However, Marlborough Aero Club president Craig Anderson said aero club members were unanimous on Thursday night that an appeal should be made.

The appeal was being led by the aviation centre and supported by the aero club.

"We have got 85 years of heritage here and we feel we need to protect that. We feel that having houses next door is not a good idea around the airport. That's why we're appealing."

Colonial Vineyards spokesman Mark Davis said he had not heard of the appeal, and didn't know anything about it.

Council chief executive Andrew Besley said the council was not appealing the decision.

It might take part in the hearing, but only to protect its interests around infrastructure provision and planning issues.

No date has been set by the High Court to hear the appeal yet.

Colonial Vineyard is bordered by Richardson Ave, New Renwick Rd, and Aerodrome Rd in Burleigh.

In opposing the zoning change from rural to residential on the land, 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.

But the Environment Court judgement said that would be an inefficient use of the land. There was sufficient employment land available in Marlborough for the next 18 years without the Colonial Vineyard land being included.

It said housing was needed in Marlborough, and not approving the subdivision could lead to a shortageand an increase in prices.

The court said it would be inefficient to block housing because of potential noise concerns in the future. The 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.

The Marlborough Express