Traveller units gain consent

A controversial proposal to establish traveller accommodation near the Otago Central Rail Trail at Lauder has been approved, but opponents may appeal the decision.

Christchurch developer David Judge was granted resource consent by the Central Otago District Council to build and operate seven units, with a combined capacity for 28 people, between State Highway 85 and the rail trail on 4.2ha of rural property.

His proposal attracted opposition from Lauder residents, local environmental groups and some national, regional and district-wide organisations.

Of those contacted by the Otago Daily Times, some had yet to decide whether to appeal, but said it would be considered.

Others said they would not appeal as their concerns had been addressed by conditions of consent, and some declined to comment.

Appeals must be lodged to the Environment Court within 15 working days of the decision being publicised.

Submitters' concerns centred on the issue of Lauderburn Cottages being visible from the rail trail and state highway and built on flood-prone land with limited access to potable water.

Many said the units would not be in keeping with the vast, rural nature of surrounding land.

Of the 16 submissions on the proposal, 13 were opposed.

They included the Central Otago Environmental Society, Department of Conservation, Lauder Beautification Society, Otago Central Rail Trail Charitable Trust and Otago Regional Council.

CODC planning consultant David Whitney also recommended consent for the proposal be declined.

At a hearing for the application, Mr Judge's planning consultant, Peter Dymock, made modifications to the original proposal to mitigate some concerns raised, and also proposed conditions of consent.

Mr Dymock highlighted the fact some submitters owned or operated traveller accommodation in and around Lauder, and said "the real motivation behind their submissions could be questioned".

Consent was granted subject to 42 conditions, which addressed neutral submissions by the New Zealand Transport Agency and New Zealand Fire Service.

Other conditions included planting to screen the accommodation units from SH85, and an order for buildings to be at least 50m from the boundary of the rail trail recreation reserve.


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