Developers: council caving in to resident

The developers behind a Yaldhurst subdivision under scrutiny by the Christchurch City Council say they are the victims of a long-running campaign by a disgruntled landowner.

They adamantly deny any suggestions the roads they built are unsafe or illegal.

On Thursday Christchurch city councillors voted for an independent safety audit of the Noble subdivision, off Yaldhurst Rd, amid allegations from local resident Colin Stokes that the subdivision's roading network had been built with disregard to accepted roading standards and was potentially unsafe.

Councillors also agreed to hire a barrister to carry out a more wide-ranging investigation of the processes used to approve the subdivision after Stokes alleged the developers had been allowed to build roads over private land.

Until the results of those inquiries are in, the council says it will not formally vest the roads in the subdivision.

But in a statement issued yesterday, the developers, Noble Investments Ltd, who were not at Thursday's council meeting and were caught by surprise by the councillors' decision, denied any wrong-doing and accused the council of "caving in" to a campaign by Stokes. They say he is currently trying to extract $2.4 million from the company for alleged contractual breaches arising from his purchase of a large block of land in stage 1 of their development.

"The process of approving this . . . development was meticulously worked through with council staff and complies with all council regulations and requirements to the letter," they said.

All roads were designed to international best practice, and had been subjected to a rigorous council approval process. In addition to peer reviews supplied by the developer, the council had also commissioned reviews from independent planners and traffic engineers.

An independent commissioner had also reviewed the approvals for the subdivision, and confirmed they were all processed correctly and complied with every regulatory requirement.

"All roads are compliant, safe and fit for purpose," the developers said.

As the council had already issued the relevant consents, it could not now refuse to accept the vesting of the roads. They said the councillors were more intent on political survival than standing by decisions that complied with national and local requirements.

The Press