Oceania gets vital backing for $18m project

LAURA BASHAM
Last updated 13:00 16/01/2013

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A company planning to spend more than $18 million redeveloping the Green Gables retirement village in Nelson has secured the support of the council's Urban Design Panel.

Oceania Group wants to partially demolish its existing Green Gables village in Bridge St then build 13 villas around the perimeter and a three-storey building in the centre, increasing the units from 71 to 91.

Nelson City Council has publicly notified the resource consent application with submissions closing in four weeks.

Oceania's general manager property Brett Meyer said it had inherited an application made by Qualcare Holdings in 2008 that was "too aggressive".

That application was withdrawn just before a hearing was to be held.

It had attracted seven submissions including a petition signed by 111 objectors.

"That was the old company's application, this is the new guard and we want to build something that is complementary to the neighbourhood," Mr Meyer said.

This time at the request of the Nelson City Council it had worked closely with the council's Urban Design Panel.

"We have considered the previous responses that were raised by the concerned parties and we believe the design we have proposed satisfies those concerns and to the extent that we have now secured the approval from the Urban Design Panel," he said.

A report from the panel last February, included with the application, said that in general the proposed design approach was sound, and gave more specific comments.

Mr Meyer said that the previous application had proposed a four-storey building fronting up to the street, while the new application had pushed it back to the centre of the site with the villas acting as a buffer or screen.

In response to the panel's suggestions it had tried to replicate the design of its existing villas and other designs in the neighbourhood, including having a high pitched roof, he said.

The driving force behind the redevelopment, costing $18m to $20m, was the demand for residential care in Nelson.

While there were other aged care developments in Stoke, Green Gables was on a prime, level site in the heart of Nelson.

"We want to do something quite special with the site. The building there is very old, the rooms are very small and dark and don't have their own ensuites and the elderly deserve better," Mr Meyer said.

He believed the company had gone about its proposal the right way by involving the panel early.

"To secure their support and endorsement is quite significant and that gives us a level of confidence that we're on the right track," he said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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