Residents of new subdivision start petition to stop pre-school being built on reserve

An artist’s impression of the Flemington pre-school. Image: Supplied
An artist’s impression of the Flemington pre-school. Image: Supplied
About 60 homeowners in a new Lincoln subdivision are calling for the developer and council to reassess plans for an early learning centre.

A Montessori centre is planned for Flemington’s O’Reilly Rd. But people who live there had always believed the area was for greenspace.

Scott Loeffler said he and fellow homeowners were sold lots on, or near Lincoln Reserve, with the promise that it would not be developed in any other way, with the exception of a cafe or some medium-density housing on the south end.

“In the five years since we have bought, no-one has been told of any other development,” Loeffler said.

“It was sold both by the agent and the developer as a ‘green development’.”

But he and neighbours heard through the grapevine about the pre-school plans, which would take up about half of the greenspace at the reserve. Loeffler and four of his neighbours then went door-to-door seeking petition signatures.

About 95 per cent of neighbours, out of some 60 homeowners, were concerned about the proposal and signed the petition, which asks the developer, Shane Kennedy, and the the Selwyn District Council to reassess plans for the centre.

The neighbours expect traffic and noise issues from the centre, which will have space for more than 100 children.

Loeffler said there were already at least eight pre-schools in Lincoln, including two across the road from the Flemington subdivision.

He said the district council had issued resource consent for the project, which was non-notified so neighbours did not have the opportunity to submit feedback.

Homeowners met on Monday night to discuss what sort of action to take.

District council resource consent team leader Rosie Flynn said resource consent was issued for the pre-school in May last year.

“The properties where the pre-school and its car park are being built were never vested as reserve, but were retained in private ownership by the subdivision developer,” Flynn said.

“The council took legal advice on whether or not the consent should be notified, and the advice was that the covenants signed by the residents when they purchased their properties legally amounted to written approval for the development.”

Kennedy did not get back to the Selwyn Times for comment by deadline.