Council's Bridesdale objections contested

Major changes to the Bridesdale Farm subdivision would be out of step with a property market that desperately needed it, a resource consent hearing in Queenstown was told yesterday.

It was rare for an applicant to provide ''such graphic evidence of both market demand and market acceptability'', counsel Warwick Goldsmith told commissioners on the first day of the two-day hearing for the resort's first special housing area.

The subdivision was more than 80% sold, so any significant change to its master plan would result in ''eager and deserving'' buyers missing out.

Although the subdivision was approved by council planners last week, their recommendations include removing 10 of the 147 sections proposed as well as all 145 garden allotments.

A panel made up of independent commissioners Denis Nugent and David Mead and Queenstown Lakes district councillor Mel Gazzard was told the developer had responded to 11 submissions from neighbours and infrastructure providers by making design changes or entering private agreements relating to building height and setbacks, right-of-way easements, the protection of existing vegetation and fencing.

However, a line-up of consultants robustly argued against several of the council's recommendations.

Urban planning consultant Ian Munro said he disagreed with the concerns of his council counterpart, Ed Jolly, about the risk of ''unit repetition'' along some streets and his recommendation of a design change requiring car parking be ''stacked'' one behind the other rather than side by side.

Repetition was noticeable when four or more units were identical, yet such an outcome was ''unlikely''.

Mr Munro said two submitters' concerns that Bridesdale Farm had the potential to become a ''slum'' were wrong, as it was an affordable housing development in the sense of ''starter housing'' rather than social or emergency housing.

Even a proportion of rental housing was unlikely to produce ''undesirable social characteristics''.

Consultant engineer Andrea Jarvis said existing wastewater infrastructure had adequate capacity to support the subdivision, while the planned stormwater system would place no demands on the surrounding infrastructure.

Existing water infrastructure lacked sufficient capacity and although an upgrade would be required, it was already necessary for resolving water constraints in neighbouring Lake Hayes Estate.

Landscape consultant Paddy Baxter said the council's recommendation to delete 10 lots on the subdivision's southern edge was misguided.

The line demarcating the ''outstanding natural landscape'' that ran beside those lots was in the wrong place, and should run along the edge of the Kawarau River about 500m away.

The 10 lots would provide a ''quality bookend'' to the fractured and modified landscape to the west of the site.

The garden allotments had been clustered more closely together and moved further to the north in response to the council's report, and would be a ''novel and appropriate community use'' for the site.

The hearing continues this morning.

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