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Subdivisions will lift growth - mayor

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014

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Recently developed residential subdivisions were just "what Timaru needed", mayor Damon Odey says.

His comments come after the council allowed a proposal for a 35-section rural-residential subdivision south of Centennial Park to go out for public comment.

"We know our economy's in good shape, and unemployment is well below the national average. What we need now is more people and sustainable growth," Odey said.

He said he could not comment on the nature of that specific proposal, as he did not want to prejudice the process.

The council has set aside $50,000 for the 2014-15 financial year for initial research on the plan, but the bulk of the work will occur in the 2015-16 year.

Odey hoped the District Plan would allow more residential land for housing development.

"The good thing about the recent consent developments is that they're all within areas with good access to infrastructure, and aren't done in a piecemeal way.

"But another advantage is that it allows first-time buyers an opportunity to get into the market. That has to be good for everyone. We want to roll out the red carpet, not the red tape."

Chris McKnight, the proponent behind the latest subdivision proposal, suggested Timaru needed at least an extra 2000 allotments created for true growth.

Odey was unsure where McKnight got those figures from, but agreed population growth was at the forefront of the council's mind.

According to last year's census, the Timaru District's population grew by 2.5 per cent from the census in 2006, to just under 44,000.

District council planning and regulations manager Chris English said a working party would be established to canvass key issues about the District Plan.

However, he wondered whether some people had become "gun-shy" since Hadlow resident Les Rawlings won an Environment Court challenge against the council.

The court ruled in favour of Rawlings last year in his appeal against a neighbour's proposal to subdivide a 4-hectare lot off Gleniti Rd, with the intention of creating two lots, one of .774ha and another of 3.261ha.

The council's District Plan allows only plots of 10ha in rural zones, unless a title was issued before 1988.

District planning manager Mark Geddes said there had been a few major developments over the last two years - but the biggest had been in the retirement village market.

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- The Timaru Herald

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