Residents 'absolutely gutted' over 820-home subdivision, relocation not an option for nursery

Residents in Trents Rd, Prebbleton, who want to retain the semi-rural nature of their area, are "absolutely gutted" an 820-home subdivision is likely to go ahead.

The size of Prebbleton is set to increase substantially as hearing commissioner Tony Hughes-Johnson recommends Selwyn District Council accept Plan Change 68, a rezoning application from Urban Holdings Ltd, Suburban Estates Ltd and Cairnbrae Developments Ltd.

It comes as another recently approved Prebbleton plan change, Plan Change 72 for 290 homes, heads to the Environment Court after being appealed.

The PC68 application pertains to 68ha between Trents Rd, Shands Rd, Hamptons Rd and the Sterling Park subdivision. Currently it is home to just 13 properties.

The proposed subdivision would affect three neighbouring nurseries - Trents Nursery, Parva Plants, and Morgan and Pollard Landscapes Ltd.

The nurseries are among about 10 neighbouring property owners who supported each other in their individual submissions against PC68. The group employed an urban planner to be an expert witness at the hearing.

Greg Tod.
Greg Tod.
Group founder Greg Tod, owner of Parva Plants, said he and fellow members were gutted and angry following the commissioner’s recommendation, and could not understand the decision considering their very real concerns.

"They didn’t listen to the people that it affects the most," Tod said.

Among Parva Plants’ concerns was that its Trents Rd frontage would become a busy intersection, as the spine road through the subdivision to Hamptons Rd would begin there.

This would create disruption for customers, staff and delivery drivers trying to access the nursery.

"Having that intersection is going to cause a real traffic hazard," Tod said.

David Somerfield, of Trents Nursery, said in his submission that the long-standing horticultural business employed locals, and annually generated revenue of about $2 million per hectare while contributing about $3 million to the local economy through wages and buying products and services.

Among his main concerns was that their new residential neighbours would complain about the noise of fans and heaters and the potential for agricultural spray drift from the business.

He and his wife Julie now held concerns for the business’ longer-term future. Relocation was not feasible due to the high cost of re-establishment.

Adam Pollard, of Morgan and Pollard Landscapes Ltd, was also concerned about the potential for their future neighbours to complain about their activities, making it impossible in the long run for the business to stay there.

The business, which employes 62 permanent staff and 10 seasonal staff, operated earthmoving and other equipment, potentially creating noise and dust. Additionally, it burned hedge and tree trimmings.

Tod said he had a "glimmer of hope" that district councillors would see common sense and not adopt the commissioner’s recommendation.

District councillors are to consider the recommendation at one of their upcoming meetings.

Tod said previous expansion expectations for Prebbleton had been on the other side of Springs Rd, so he hoped district councillors would decline the plan change, and not follow the path they had taken for another controversial plan change application, that of PC69 for 1710 new homes at Lincoln.

The PC69 application was approved by the district council and is now subject to appeal, with appeals closing August 4.

Tod said he and fellow submitters may appeal the PC68 decision if it was approved.

Meanwhile, the district council’s decision to approve PC72, made in April, has been appealed by a neighbour of the proposed development, G M and J Drinnan.

The Drinnans have concerns about stormwater drainage and want some of their property to be included in the rezoned area.

The PC72 rezoning application was from Trices Road Rezoning Group, made up of the existing landowners of 28.7ha on the southern boundary of Prebbleton.

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