Proposed subdivision may depart from district plan, hearing told

This house in Waikouaiti was built about 1890 and the property was once owned by a prominent...
This house in Waikouaiti was built about 1890 and the property was once owned by a prominent settler family. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Waikouaiti farm owner wants to subdivide a 19th-century homestead so it can be preserved, but planning rules may get in the way.

The landowner hopes to build a new house on the Quarry Rd property and a possible buyer of the old villa could restore the homestead, the Dunedin City Council’s hearings committee has been told.

However, planners said the application could undermine the district plan, including its density provisions for the rural area.

Although the villa is not formally recognised for its historical value, the property is viewed as having local historical significance.

It was occupied since the earliest days of Pakeha settlement in Otago.

Hawksbury Village may have been named after the house built on the property by the Orbell family about 1850, a heritage report for the council states.

The villa still in existence was constructed by George and Elizabeth Schultze about 1890.

Puke Ora — as the site was known in 1918 — was bought by former publican Patrick Toomey and was described as a dwelling of 12 rooms.

The Toomey family owned the property through most of the 20th century.

It is now owned by Norbill Estate Ltd, of which Warwick Williamson is the sole shareholder.

Mr Williamson’s application stated he was reluctant to demolish the villa.

The applicant proposed that a rural lot of 3.1ha should be created around the villa and the balance of the site, 28.8ha, would remain as a farm.

The homestead was occupied until recently by tenants and family members.

It was falling into disrepair, but it was not beyond repair, the applicant stated.

The council’s heritage report described a substantial timber villa in ‘‘fair’’ condition, and most of the historical interior and exterior remained intact.

Consultant planner Shane Roberts said the subdivision proposal was contrary to the key objectives and policies of the proposed second-generation district plan and the extent of positive effects associated with the application was unclear.

The hearings committee met on Monday and committee members were awaiting further information from council staff.

grant.miller@odt.co.nz

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