Church plans given approval

The Central Otago District Council has granted consent for a 114-year-old Ophir church to be used as a shop and later as travellers' accommodation.

Russell and Judy Hinsley, who own the Swindon St property on which St Andrew's Church is located, intend to establish a "collectibles" shop to sell antiques.

They later plan to renovate the main part of the church and use it as travellers' accommodation for up to five people and move the shop to two small buildings beside the church.

They intend to finish the two small buildings in keeping with the older style of buildings in Ophir.

A submission in opposition was made on behalf of the beneficiaries of the estate of Maurice George Plunket, which is opposite the church. That submission said the consent application did not take into account the special character of the area, being a small town with gold heritage.

"The development so far ...

gives us no confidence that the conversion of the church to a bed and breakfast will be completed in a sympathetic manner.

Steve and Annie Chapman, who own a neighbouring property, also opposed the venture.

They said they had bought their property because of the quiet and private feel and believed having a business opposite them would spoil that by affecting their lifestyle and privacy.

There were 16 conditions attached to the consent which included for the two new buildings to be finished in a manner which complemented the appearance of the church and other heritage buildings in Ophir.

Another condition restricted retail hours to 10am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays, 10am to 2pm on Mondays, 9am to 5pm on public holidays, excluding Christmas Day and Good Friday and 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday during the months September to April inclusive.

Other conditions limited the number of accommodation guests to five and required provision for four parking spaces.

The church has a Category 2 classification with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and is listed as a heritage item within the Central Otago District plan.



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