Hopes high for $10m affordable housing plan

An architect's impression of affordable housing units to be built on Onslow Rd, Lake Hayes Estate.
An architect's impression of affordable housing units to be built on Onslow Rd, Lake Hayes Estate.
Stage two of the $10 million affordable housing development at Lake Hayes Estate could begin by Christmas, despite the Charities Commission's decision to investigate the charity status of the trust behind the project.

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust chairman David Cole said it had received consent for another 22 double-storeyed homes and a child-care centre, on Onslow Rd, at Lake Hayes Estate.

"The trust is hopeful construction will begin before Christmas, and if not, certainly soon after," Mr Cole said.

Last year, the first five affordable housing units were finished in Nerin Sq, in the centre of Lake Hayes Estate, in stage one of the project.

However, in August, the Charities Commission advised it did not consider the trust's activities met its registration guidelines and planned to deregister the trust on September 15.

Last month, the trust was given a temporary reprieve from deregistration as a charity by the High Court, with a new hearing date proposed for March 2, 2011.

"The outcome of the Charities Commission's decision will not affect the development, as the trust owns the land outright," Mr Cole said.

The trust hopes construction of seven of the 22 remaining affordable houses will begin near the end of December, by housing construction company G.J.Gardner.

Mr Cole said the units were designed by Dravitski Brown Architecture, and will be three-bedroom, two-bathroom properties, expected to cost between $430,000 to $460,000, depending on location, and private or shared property status.

"It is hard for home buyers to find a property in the area for under $550,000 ... our job is to help struggling workers in town, without making the costs of housing so outrageously expensive," Mr Cole said.

In June, the trust was given a $1 million government grant for the project, and the remaining $9 million had been borrowed as working capital, Mr Cole said.

He said the trust could use its funds to buy about 30% of each of the properties, leaving the home buyer to buy the remaining 70%.

"We will leave an investment with the trust to purchase 30% ... and if homeowners want, as their incomes rise, they may choose to purchase the remaining 30% back."

Mr Cole said, the trust was holding a "sausage-sizzle style" open day, at the Nerin Sq development site for potential home buyers to see what is on offer, on Saturday December 11.

Julie Scott, trust executive officer said the casual drop-in function would run from 11am to 3pm, and housing plans would be available for discussion with trustees, representatives from the proposed child-care centre, and representatives from G.J. Gardner Homes.

Ms Scott said the trust "has had a good response so far" to people registering interest in the properties, but exact numbers were unavailable yesterday.