The Otago Racing Club says if it does not get consent to
subdivide for a row of houses along Gladstone Rd North at
Wingatui, it could build a row of large, potentially brightly
lit, noisy and smelly corrugated iron-clad horse barns there
''They wouldn't be that attractive,'' the racing club's
planner, Allan Cubitt, yesterday told a panel considering the
It was not saying it would, just that it could because that
sort of thing was permitted in a rural zone, he said.
Residents said they did not appreciate the ''thinly veiled
threat'' and it made no sense, when the club said on the one
hand the land was of no use to it other than for subdivision
and on the other that it would use it for horse stalls that
would actually be located inconveniently.
The racing club has applied to the council to subdivide the
Gladstone Rd North frontage of the Wingatui racecourse into
11 lots to raise capital to develop course facilities.
The proposal was not about making money to secure the club's
financial future, Mr Cubitt said. The club was not in
financial difficulty, as suggested by some submitters.
''It is all about enhancing the site to become a centre of
excellence for a legitimate rural activity - that of training
race horses ... and ensuring the future of the racecourse,
which is of strategic importance to New Zealand racing
industry, is further secured and developed.''
The club, to date, had kept away from developing the road
frontage with horse stalls or similar, out of regard for its
The racing club's lawyer, Phil Page, said the context of the
application - specifically its part in the club's plans to
secure the future of a local industry many relied on - was
''everything'' in this case.
The rural zone no longer fitted the environment that had
grown up in some parts of it and neither Wingatui, nor the
racecourse at its centre, was truly rural any more, he said.
''The use of the land has to change. It's this or something
else, and this was what the club thought would be of the most
benefit to the residential area of the place.''
Landscape architect for the club, Michael Moore, said the
rural character of the area was already ''weakly expressed''.
Plans to keep trees and hedges and undertake additional
planting would retain the country lane character of Gladstone
Rd North and mitigate the effect of housing, while the houses
would be ''tucked down'' below the main focus of residents'
But residents strongly disagreed with them all.
David Wade, an architectural draftsman and lecturer at the
Otago Polytechnic, said the proposal would have an
''irreversible'' impact on Wingatui's amenity and
Like many opponents to the proposal, he said he bought his
house because he was confident the rural zoning in the
district plan would protect the area under consideration from
further residential development.
He presented images showing what the housing could look like
and said existing trees would provide little screening in
winter and not much more in summer, as lower branches were
David Guard said he was ''quite dismayed'' to find only some
weeks after moving in, after being satisfied the area in
front of his house was zoned rural, that he was faced with a
''full-scale subdivision'' that would ''obliterate'' his
He had no regard for the club's ''thinly veiled threat'' of
horse barns, he said.
''I fail to see how piles of sawdust, horse dung and iron
cladding fits with their own strategic plan.''
Caroline Hunter said she did not believe her rural view was
''weakly expressed'', but did believe it would be profoundly
spoiled by urban development.
''The thought of looking at what could be a row of beige
McMansions just really doesn't appeal.''
Michael McNulty said the houses would be metres from his home
and he would never be able to get away from them, while
Wingatui Community Hall Society treasurer Peter Wilson said
he was concerned allowing it would set a precedent.
''The entire countryside of Wingatui will be gone and, once
gone, it will be gone forever.
''We'd love to see the racecourse a centre for excellence.
However, we don't think it should be at the cost of the
residents of Wingatui.''
The panel hearing was adjourned for a site visit at a later