Taranaki smallest council approves $4.78m subdivision development
Stratford's council is to undertake a $4.78 million property development in an effort to attract more people to the town.
The move to develop sections for people to build homes on, has been welcomed by builders and real estate agents in the town.
McDonalds Real Estate Central and South Taranaki sales manager Danny Bates said there was a "massive" need for the subdivision in the town, especially for plots for first-time buyers to build on.
"If you look around Stratford at the moment, we have maybe got 10 sections for sale and that is driving up the price of them," Bates said.
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He said there was also an opportunity for the council to build a higher-end subdivision in the town because developers were more reluctant to build there when they could get higher returns in New Plymouth.
A report last month showed there was a large increase in the number of housing consents for new homes issued by Stratford District Council (SDC).
At the time Stratford builder Mike Childs said he had three customers who had decided to build outside the district as they couldn't find suitable sites in the town.
Plans for a council subdivision were included in the SDC's 2015-2025 Long Term Plan to ensure "the ability of current and future residents to build new houses in a modern, quality subdivision".
In a split decision on Tuesday night the council voted to continue with those plans.
The project is budgeted at $4,788,800 over three years, with the income from the sale of the sections expected to offset the cost of development.
Councillors Grant Boyde, John Sandford and Peter Dalziel all spoke in favour of the planned development.
Sandford said stories of people who had looked at the area but decided to move elsewhere showed there was a need for it in the town.
Councillor Graham Kelly said many years ago the council's strategy had been to grow the town to a population of 12,000, but he now thought the council should aim for between 10,000 and 10,500 people.
"How we're going to do that is put a substantial subdivision in this town," he said.
Councillor Kelvin Squire was the only councillor to speak against the proposal, which he said didn't use the right wording.
"It should be aimed at affordable housing so it meets the needs of our town," he said.
"So I'm in favour of option two so we don't end up with hit and miss housing options."
The second option in the report on the subdivision suggested putting the development on hold to wait for a Council Housing Strategy, which would explore the needs of the community.
Mayor Neil Volzke asked Squire if he wanted to move on option two, but he declined and said he would vote against option one instead.
Volzke reminded the meeting the council wasn't intending to build houses on the sections, and instead would be developing and selling them.
Sandford then called for a division, with all councillors except Squire voting in favour of the project.
Council chief executive Sven Hanne said staff would start work on getting the project underway immediately.