Ex-farmer finally wins right to subdivide

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012

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A 17-year effort to subdivide a "useless" land block has paid off for a former Queenstown farmer, who is now free to subdivide after the Environment Court overruled a council decision blocking the move.

Mel Fordyce, under Platinum Estates, was given clearance by the court to subdivide the $7 million Littles Rd block into 15 lifestyle blocks.

In February Mr Fordyce made his second attempt since 1995 to break up the rural block, telling resource consent commissioners it was useless to him as a farmer.

He wanted the block to be broken up into 18 blocks, but amended that to 15 to fit in with resource consent commissioners' recommendations.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council turned down the subdivision attempt, but Mr Fordyce appealed against the decision to the Environment Court.

Judge Jon Jackson issued a consent order allowing the subdivision on the condition the council be vested part of the land for a recreation reserve.

Mr Fordyce, who lives on Australia's Gold Coast, but was in Christchurch yesterday, said he would not comment on the consent order yet.

However, during the resource consent hearing, he spoke about the difficulties surrounding breaking up the land block.

"I've seen rural lifestyle blocks spring up around this piece of land, and even sold some that became a nursery. That nursery is now one of the parties objecting to me breaking up the land further."

In his consent order, Judge Jackson praised Mr Fordyce's moves to retain some rural character.

"The pastoral management areas look like a reasonable attempt to retain the open character along this part of Littles Rd and the developers are to be congratulated for that."

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