Vineyard seeks consent to subdivide

Terra Sancta vineyard owners Mark Weldon and Sarah Elliot are seeking a subdivision of a Cornish Point property to further expand their viticulture business.

The couple, under the name of the Tane and Miro Trust, have applied to the Central Otago District Council for planning consent to create two allotments in Cornish Point Rd, near Cromwell, with areas of 4847sq m and 6.26ha.

They bought the former Olssens vineyard, one of the pioneering vineyards in the Bannockburn area, in 2011 and rebranded it as Terra Sancta.

The application was heard this week by the council's hearings panel, which reserved its decision on the matter.

The site contained a two-storey house, built in 2008, which had yet to be completed, and the land was used for low-intensity grazing, the panel heard.

Giving evidence to the hearing on behalf of the couple, BTW South planning manager Anita Dawe said the intention was to subdivide off the smaller block containing the house as the owners did not need it, and the rest of the land would be developed for viticulture.

The owners intended to plant pinot noir grapes.

''The subdivision will facilitate the expansion of the applicants' viticulture business - with currently three existing vineyard blocks, including two on Felton Rd and one on Cairnmuir Rd - which currently has 33ha of grapes on 36ha of land in Central Otago,'' she said.

The couple had constructed a new winery building in Felton Rd and ordered 24,000 vines to further expand their business.

Pinot noir made up 80%-85% of the applicants' business.

The proposed subdivision would have no effect on the integrity of the district plan, Ms Dawe said. A new access road to the property about 100m further south off Cornish Point Rd would be constructed, she said.

Council planning consultant David Whitney has recommended consent be given, subject to several conditions.

He said the proposal would have positive effects by enabling efficient use to be made of the house on the first lot and by freeing up capital to allow the applicants to develop a vineyard on the second lot.

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