No resource consent for academy at subdivision

Authorities said coaches in such sports as soccer, sailing, tennis, water polo and volleyball...
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Plans to establish a tennis academy in a residential subdivision near Queenstown have been stymied after independent commissioners refused consent.

However, developer Chris Meehan appears to be planning on building his facility elsewhere.

Bridesdale Farm Developments Ltd had hoped to construct eight tennis courts within the special housing area - two of which would be covered - primarily to establish a charitable tennis academy to cater for up to 16 school pupils.

One court would have been reserved for public use and anyone would have been able to use the other seven courts when they were not required by the tennis academy.

At a resource consent hearing in April, Mr Meehan said he and his wife, Michaela, had spent about $300,000 on the proposal to date, which would cost up to $3.5million to build.

However, in their decision, released yesterday, commissioners Gina Sweetman and David Mead found the positive effects of the development, located within an outstanding natural landscape area, did not outweigh the negative - particularly in respect of the landscape.

In a written statement provided to the Otago Daily Times, Mr Meehan said: "We are incredibly disappointed with the outcome that a significant charitable community-focused initiative, with no cost to the council and significant benefit to the youth of the district, is rejected.

"We are still very passionate about this initiative so, instead of appealing the decision, we will focus on finding a community that will welcome the $3million state-of-the-art sporting facility of Winton Tennis Centre and associated Winton Tennis Academy."

The commissioners ultimately found the surrounding landscape could not absorb the tennis centre.

That was based on planned mounds and extensive tree planting proposed to screen the tennis courts, containers - used to create the indoor courts - and associated roof structures.

"While we appreciate that the landscape of the site could be modified through the likes of shelter belt planting and incidental farm buildings, and that the council land may be developed in some way in the future, we do not consider that the possibility of these features is sufficient to say that the effects of the proposed development on the landscape are appropriate.

"We also note that the container and roof structure proposed for the academy is greater than what could be anticipated to occur as-of-right."

They also found the proposal faced "strong discouragement" under a policy in the operative district plan which referred to avoiding subdivision and development where effects on landscape values were more than minor.

"The policy further refers to maintaining openness, avoiding cumulative deterioration and maintaining the naturalness of views from public places.

"Development should be barely visible.

"In our reading, the policy does not support mounding or planting to hide development from public view."

Overall, the commissioners found effects on landscape values were "at least moderate" and mitigation planting and mounding proposed "further aggravates the extent of adverse effects, rather than ameliorating them".

"While there are a range of positive benefits from the development, these do not outweigh the negative [effects]."

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