Company rejects claims community views on Frankton Flats ignored

A company involved in Frankton's development saga has hit back at claims the Queenstown Lakes District Council is ignoring community views.

Those behind Queenstown Central Ltd, which owns some of the prime development land at Frankton Flats, disagree with the claims made this week by rival developer Alastair Porter.

Mr Porter, whose family-run Shotover Park Ltd has appealed an Environment Court decision on the zoning of Frankton Flats, alleged the community's views and those of affected landowners were not being fairly considered by staff or elected members of the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

A lack of clarity regarding intended outcomes for a 69ha plot at Frankton Flats meant that the community could not shape the future of the area without calling in costly consultants, lawyers and judges, Mr Porter said.

The Environment Court has backed council plans to zone the area for industrial use, whereas Mr Porter's Shotover Park has plans for a $50 million retail development, including a Pak'n Save supermarket and Mitre 10 Mega hardware store.

In response, Queenstown Central development manager Simon Holloway said in a statement the council's plan for the Frankton Flats land was notified for public submissions in 2007. A plan change clearly identified the development outcomes the council wanted for the land to provide for the district's future growth.

''[The plan change] was publicly notified, providing the community every opportunity to participate in the zoning process,'' Mr Holloway said.

A separate decision issued by independently appointed commissioners and largely in accordance with the council plans was also publicly notified.

''The Porters' appeal to the [latest Environment Court] decision seeks to enable retail activities for their land rather than the industrial activity status the court decision has directed,'' Mr Holloway says.

Separately, Queenstown Central has appealed consents granted for the Pak'n Save and Mitre 10 by the Environment Court to protect the integrity of the plan change. Mr Holloway said it should be clarified Queenstown Central was not the owner or developer of land dubbed ''Hendo's Hole'', where a $125 million mall is proposed.

That company was Queenstown Gateway (5M) Ltd owned by Aucklander Tony Gapes. Mr Gapes is a director of Auckland-based Redwood Group, which has a management relationship with Queenstown Central.

Mr Holloway adds: ''Queenstown Central, and we understand Queenstown Gateway, have a strong desire to resolve all matters within the Frankton Flats in order that the Queenstown community may benefit from the amenities and growth opportunities that [the plan change] decision will provide.''

Earlier this week, Mr Porter said his company, Shotover Park, regretted making the appeal but had little choice - and ''remained committed to achieving an agreed settlement to avoid further litigation''.

By Ryan Keen, of the Mountain Scene

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