Oamaru stone banned in Central

Oamaru stone is now excluded from the permitted finishes for rural homes in Central Otago. The...
Oamaru stone is now excluded from the permitted finishes for rural homes in Central Otago. The designer and builder of this House of the Year 2008 national award-winning home, north of Cromwell, is one of 65 submitters who have opposed the change to the district plan.
Oamaru stone is now deemed an unsuitable finish for rural homes in Central Otago, under the district's new planning rules.

The stone is specifically excluded from the list of building materials for rural homes in the district and the change has prompted an outcry from residents, architects and the building industry.

The change was one of 23 proposed by the Central Otago District Council last year to address rural development issues, and it took effect from October 11. Anyone wanting to build an Oamaru stone home in the rural resource area of the district now needs planning consent to breach the district plan rules.

Submissions on the changes closed in December and were made public this week. Sixty-five of the 218 submissions received were about Oamaru stone and all of them sought its reinstatement as a permitted building material.

Speaking at a public meeting in Alexandra last year, Central Otago District Council planning manager Louise van der Voort said during its consultation on rural issues, the council was told people found Oamaru stone houses very "reflective" and visible in a rural setting.

Ashley Hide, of Athfield Architects in Christchurch, said architects had used Oamaru stone for more than a century and its subtle finish was compatible with the colours of the Central Otago landscape.

Parkside Quarries Ltd director Bob Wilson said the change would have wide-ranging negative effects on Central Otago and outside the district. The North Otago quarry is sole supplier of the stone.

"Oamaru stone has been used in the region since early settlement days and became a cornerstone of early development and a strong feature in Central Otago towns and across the Otago region," Mr Wilson said.

Brian Archer, of Alpine Homes in Cromwell, won a Master Builder of the Year national award last year with an Oamaru stone house north of Cromwell . He said it was a natural resource and ideal for house cladding in Central. The council is seeking comment on the submissions by October 2. The hearing is likely before Christmas.



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