'McDonald's' type of housing 'not needed'

Barrister James Gardner-Hopkins (standing) presents evidence on behalf of residents opposed to ...
Barrister James Gardner-Hopkins (standing) presents evidence on behalf of residents opposed to plan change 13 in Cromwell yesterday. PHOTO: KERRIE WATERWORTH
Opponents to a proposed plan change which would allow a 900-residential-lot development to be built adjacent to the Cromwell Highland Motorsports Park and orchards believe the "McDonald's" type of housing was not needed and probably not the most appropriate for the town.

On the fifth day of the commissioners hearing into plan change 13, counsel representing Residents for Responsible Development, barrister James Gardner-Hopkins, said the proponent, Winton Group developer Chris Meehan, had sought to "manufacture" an alleged housing crisis in Cromwell from information he had read in the media.

Mr Gardner-Hopkins said if there was no such crisis, then the entire justification for the plan change falls away.

Earlier in the week, in his evidence Mr Meehan had likened his type of housing development to a McDonald's Family Restaurant moving in next to the local "mom and pop"-style small hamburger shop.

Mr Gardner-Hopkins incorporated Mr Meehan's McDonald's analogy in his closing remarks when he said "the proponent is saying here is an opportunity for a residential development, so would you like noise with that, would you like spray drift with that, and would you like a no complaints covenant?"

The hearing was adjourned until early next month when the Central Otago District Council will present their case opposing the plan change using the Cromwell master plan and the recently released spatial plan in their evidence.

Yesterday, commissioners Gavin Rae (chairman), Gavin Lister and David McMahon overturned an objection by barrister Warwick Goldsmith who had claimed the spatial plan was new evidence.

In delivering his ruling, Mr Rae said that the commissioners had not yet seen the spatial plan and "as to whether we ultimately decide the document is relevant to our decision-making, or what weight we might assign to it, is still very much a live matter".


What will happen is the housing gets built, people move in then start complaining about the noise of the motorsport park and orchards and will get them shut down as has happened to other racetracks around the country.