Builder 'bitter' over council’s opposition

The uninhabitable home at 38 Richmond St, Forbury, which the owner wants to demolish. Photo by...
The uninhabitable home at 38 Richmond St, Forbury, which the owner wants to demolish. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Plans to raze an uninhabitable flood-damaged Forbury house and build two homes in its place have been dealt a blow after being opposed by a Dunedin City Council planner.

The resource consent application for the proposed development at 38 Richmond St will be heard later this month by committee chairman Cr Andrew Noone, Cr Lee Vandervis and commissioner Colin Weatherall.

Council senior planner Kirstyn Lindsay, in a report to the committee, has recommended the proposal be declined.

The proposal is to remove the house, identified by Heritage New Zealand as having been built between 1891 and 1895, and build two single-storey townhouses in its place.

Heritage New Zealand, which was neutral in its submission on the proposal, said the site, as well as containing a historic although unlisted house, was also an "archaeological site'' as defined by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act and any modification would require archaeological authorisation.

The Otago Regional Council is opposed to the proposal as the site is at risk of flooding and liquefaction and more intensive housing would put a greater number of people at risk.

However, owner Laurence Prattley said the house was uninhabitable in its present state as it had no bathroom or kitchen.

"The house was under eight inches of water [during June 2015's floods],'' he said.

"I bought it from a lady at what it cost her five years ago because it was too much for her to cope with.''

Mr Prattley, a builder, often bought houses to renovate. However, even for him, "this was a bridge too far''.

"It's probably going to cost me the same to do it up as it would to build two new ones and then there's no maintenance,'' he said.

"You can get very bitter thinking about stuff like this.''

He was "not confident at all'' the council would see his point of view and he had hired a specialist to speak on his behalf at the hearing.

His hope was to build the two units and lease them to Housing New Zealand.

Ms Lindsay said the proposal was "contrary to the key relevant objectives and policies of the Dunedin city district plan'' and was likely to "give rise to adverse effects that will be more than minor''.

"The proposal is considered to have failed both 'limbs' of the ... gateway test. Consideration cannot be given to the granting of consent to the proposal,'' her report said.

"I consider that approval of the proposal will undermine the integrity of the plan and I believe that the committee is wise to be concerned about the potential for an undesirable precedent to be set in this regard.''

The hearing is set down for July 21.

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