Height reduction for fast-track approval

An artist’s impression shows the original design submitted for No.1 Hansen Rd Ltd’s worker...
An artist’s impression shows the original design submitted for No.1 Hansen Rd Ltd’s worker housing complex. IMAGE: SUPPLIED
A planned worker’s accommodation will reduce its height by one level for it to get over the line with a fast-track panel.

The government approved fast-track consenting for Australian-based No.1 Hansen Road Ltd in November last year, for plans to build a 554-unit complex in Frankton to address desperate rental shortages in the Queenstown Lakes district.

But the proposal met opposition from several groups, who felt the complex was too large and invasive of an outstanding natural landscape.

An applicant’s letter to the panel said it would reduce three of its eight buildings by one level from four to three storeys.

"An increased setback of building from the paper road boundary in the northern extent of the site, combined with proposed planting in the Landscape Concept Plan, is appropriate to soften this boundary.

"The overall intent and objectives of the landscape design in this location can still be achieved with the Buildings A-C adjustment (primarily being: providing amenity planting, communal ‘spill out’ and gathering spaces, connectivity between buildings, seating areas, privacy screening etc)."

The panel had previously expressed their concerns when it came to a variety of landscape issues.

But landscape architect Ann Stevens’ independent assessment of the revised plans, released last week, suggested it could meet the requirements with some further changes.

"Removing one storey [to Block D] reduces the effects of protrusion above ambient height of other buildings in the zone, including the already significantly over-height carpark building.

"It creates a stepping back effect from front to rear of site which in my opinion is more logical."

Ms Stevens’ assessment also asked for the applicant to consider reducing one of the building’s heights by more than one level, because it would presently block "views of the more distant outstanding natural landscape when travelling along SH6 looking southwest to the Ben Lomond ridge or east to the Crown Range".

"One more entire storey would need to be removed from Block H to maintain views", she said.

The company has said the project could meet more than 10% of the expected increase in rental accommodation demand over the next 10 years and reduce pressure on the housing crisis.

The panel is expected to make its decision within the week.