Brough's Gully plan change approved, residential development made possible

An aerial view of Broughs Gully, in the Timaru suburb of Oceanview.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

An aerial view of Broughs Gully, in the Timaru suburb of Oceanview.

A district plan change that could allow up to 180 sections to be developed in north Timaru has been approved - though an appeal appears likely. 

The Timaru District Council sought Plan Change 21 to allow for the co-ordinated development of Brough's Gully, an underdeveloped residential-zoned valley in Oceanview.

The Brough's Gully Outline Development Plan would provide for infrastructure, including roads, stormwater, sewers and electricity. Future land use would be in accordance with the plan.

Submissions on the plan change were heard by an independent commissioner in August. That it had been approved has just been confirmed.

READ MORE: 
Development in Broughs Gully will need plan change 
Timaru landowners say they will miss out on $1m

The land has been zoned for suburban density development for at least 30 years. Letting that happen could yield 180 sections. 

Commissioner Allan Cubitt said the gully's potential had not been realised. Some of the 28 landowners did not want to develop it, while others were unable to.

Timaru District Council infrastructure group manager Ashley Harper said the commissioner's decision gave "certainty" for servicing residentially-zoned land in the area. 

"This in no way compels landowners to develop their land but provides a robust infrastructure framework should they wish to do so," Harper said. 

Port Bryson Property Ltd and Hilton Trust Ltd were among the parties that opposed the change on the grounds it would block future development of their storage business.

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At the hearing, it was claimed that could cost them the chance to develop about six sections up to $1 million in opportunity costs. 

Bruce Pipe, a director of Port Bryson and the Hilton Trust, said on Friday he was "hugely disappointed" the change was approved 

It would allow a stormwater dam to be constructed on property belonging to the trust and company. Additional land would be taken for reserve purposes.

A sewer line and easement was planned to the south of the dam.

Pipe confirmed he planned to appeal the decision, but was not yet sure which aspects of the decision he would focus on. 

The decision could be appealed until October 31.  

In his written decision, Cubitt says the loss of opportunity and development land to the Port Bryson Property and Hilton Trust had been "somewhat overstated". 

There were already easements for stormwater, water, electricity, and telecommunication services, along with rights of way, which "would seem to call into question" Pipe's ability to build on the area anyway. 

"It seemed to me that the biggest driver behind this concern was the 'lost opportunity' of expanding the storage business into this area," he said in his decision. 

"[However] the zone does not provide for this activity and it cannot therefore be had regard to." 

On Friday, Pipe acknowledged there was an easement across his property for some gully lots, but said that was completely different to building a dam there. 

He had looked thoroughly into the financial effects of the plan on his business, he said. 

A proposed alternative stormwater network, developed to consider the submitters' concerns, was rejected by Cubitt.

It would almost double the earthworks required, adding an additional cost of $750,000 to the work and leading to the area of developable land being reduced by 3000 square metres. 

"Access to allotments off the road under this design would be made more difficult," Cubitt says in his decision. 

Another submitter, Peter Olsen, was opposed to a planned road extension, as it ran through his property causing "severance issues". Roading provisions were not altered.

ECan sought minor changes to provide recognition for Waitarakao (Washdyke Lagoon), which the council and Cubitt accepted. 

ECan wanted the plan to take into account averse effects on the water quality and hydraulic functioning of the lagoon. 

Transpower also made several submissions regarding the provision of electricity to make the plan change compliant with the National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission, which were accepted. 

 - The Timaru Herald

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