News of subdivision shock to neighbours

The owners of rural-zoned land near Queenstown say it was ''gut-wrenching'' when they learned fast-tracked subdivision Bridesdale Farm would be developed next door.

Giving evidence on the second day of a consent hearing for the development yesterday, Jane Bamford said she and husband Richard bought their Judge and Jury Dr section last year and had drawn up plans for their dream home.

Their land bordered a working farm, had uninterrupted views across the rural landscape and straddled a legally designated ''outstanding natural landscape''.

The first they heard about the subdivision was when sections were offered for sale. They were shocked when they realised they would be ''hard up against a high-density urban environment''.

Bridesdale Farm appeared to be a ''done deal'', and the process of finding out how they would be affected had made them feel marginalised and disenfranchised.

''I don't feel like I am over-exaggerating when I say this process feels very undemocratic to me - that you need to have a lot of money to be able to have witnesses and lawyers and planners in order to be heard''.

Mrs Bamford broke down as she asked commissioners Denis Nugent, David Mead and Mel Gazzard to ''make us feel we do have a voice and that we're not fighting a losing battle''.

''The section we bought represented everything we wanted, and we've made plans for our life there.

''Now we're faced with the possibility of losing what we worked so hard for.''

Approved by Queenstown Lakes District Council planners last week, Bridesdale Farm is the first subdivision in the district to get government approval as a special housing area.

After hearing evidence from the developers' consultants on Tuesday, commissioners yesterday began hearing evidence from the subdivision's neighbours.

Erskine St resident Doug Anderson urged them to be ''brave enough'' to order major design changes or decline the subdivision.

He recommended the developer be required to provide another road access via Alec Robins Rd, and fund a new roundabout at its highway entrance as well as a water infrastructure upgrade.

It needed more off-road parking and a greater variety of section sizes were needed, and the garden allotments had to be deleted because they would become a ''dumping ground for old cars''.

After the two days set aside for the hearing did not prove long enough for all submissions to be heard, commissioners decided to reconvene for at least another day in a few weeks' time.

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