Golf resort bid to protect border land

Millbrook Resort. Photo: Supplied
Millbrook Resort. Photo: Supplied
One of New Zealand’s biggest golf resorts is fighting to limit developments on its border at a hearing to consider plans to protect rural land in the Wakatipu Basin.

Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort made several submissions to a hearing panel at Copthorne Hotel in Queenstown on Thursday, raising concerns about Queenstown Lakes District Council’s proposed district plan to create a rural amenity zone and a lifestyle precinct in the area.

Ben O’Malley, director of property and development at Millbrook, told the panel if the proposals go ahead the council "may enable an inappropriate development on its boundaries".

Mr O’Malley said he had "worked tirelessly" with the team at Millbrook to preserve the resort’s landscape and visual amenity.

"Millbrook has created a high amenity environment.

"We are not too happy about this."

The company opposed submissions from various parties on land bordering the resort  who it said were seeking to be included in either the Millbrook resort zone or the proposed lifestyle precinct.

The resort raised concerns about submissions from several nearby landowners, as well as the Spruce Grove Trust and the Boundary Trust, who, it said, were looking to be included in the Millbrook resort zone.

The resort, which is owned by the Ishii family of Japan, also argued that  Waterfall Park, on nearby Ayrburn land, is seeking inclusion in a bespoke or "special zone" to enable more flexible rules around future development.

Andrew Craig, a landscape architect engaged by Millbrook for the hearing, said the resort "incorporates significant natural features".

"We want the distinct quasi-rural character of Millbrook to be maintained."

The country club wants land bordering it to be zoned for rural purposes as part of the proposed district plan.

It submitted that land adjoining the resort should to be zoned as "rural general" in the council’s operative district plan, if the rural amenity zone is not adopted, in order to protect its land and the resort’s character as a tourist attraction.

As part of stage 2 of the proposed plan, which is the subject of a hearing expected to last until July 26, new sections of land within the 4672ha rural amenity zone must be at least 80ha.

In the 2198ha lifestyle precinct, sections need to be at least 6000sqm.

The existing rural, rural residential and rural lifestyle zones will be replaced by the new sections that make up the lifestyle precinct.

Under the proposed plan, which aims to protect rural land in the area by limiting development, all buildings, except small farm buildings, would need a resource consent in the two zones if it were to undertake developments.

Planning and resource manager John Edmonds, who prepared evidence for Millbrook to be presented at the hearing, concluded that submitters seeking to be included in the resort zone "are all independent of the resort".

"Neither are integrated with it, nor have they been planned to fit within it."

Millbrook is currently undertaking a large expansion, which includes an additional nine-hole golf course and 42 residential properties on 67ha of the former Dalgleish Farm land it borders.

The $45 million development comes after the Overseas Investment Office granted the resort permission to buy the farmland in 2014.

The golf club has often hosted the New Zealand Open and the 99th Open was held there in March.

The hearing panel will continue to hear submissions from other parties on Tuesday.

- Joshua Walton

Comments

Not sure why Millbrook think they can influence the Queenstown Council when Hawea residents (who pay rates but are not property developers) could not when it came to a recent SHA decision. It seems unreasonable Millbrook can protect their interest and the people of Hawea seem to have no rights to do the same? For the record, I am a Hawea resident and a member of Millbrook.

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