Forbury site 'could fit hundreds of homes'

The future for Forbury Park is uncertain. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A Canterbury-based developer says a racing venue in Dunedin that will soon be abandoned could fit more than 300 new homes, helping to ease the city’s growing housing crisis.

It comes as the Forbury Park Trotting Club and its key stakeholders met yesterday to discuss "exciting" possibilities for the site, currently zoned for recreation and with a rateable value of $7.9 million.

The club announced its plans to sell the site and explore being part of a development of an all-weather, multi-code equestrian centre at a greenfields site in the Dunedin area, or set up at Wingatui.

Developer Tom Richardson, who recently moved from Dunedin to Canterbury, believed about 360 houses on 500sqm sections could fit on the 12ha site.

"God knows the city needs it. They need to get on to it," he said.

The more the issue of housing supply grew, the more housing prices would grow, he said.

"One just follows the other.

"All that has happened is sections that I originally started selling for $150,000 are $400,000 now."

There were some issues with building in South Dunedin, due to concerns over the effects of climate change, but there were ways to do it right, he said.

"It could be used for housing, there is no question about that.

"They have just got to get their thinking up to date."

Mr Richardson believed there would be many developers around Dunedin who would want to buy the site or parts of it.

 Ingrid Leary
Ingrid Leary

Forbury Park Trotting Club chairman Craig Paddon confirmed a meeting was held yesterday to explore the options for the site, but was unable to comment further due to confidentiality.

"It is all unfolding quite quickly."

Taieri MP Ingrid Leary was also unable to comment on what options were being discussed.

However, it was important to her that access to additional housing, innovative business models that supported home ownership, and climate-adaptive infrastructure were considered.

"All stakeholders I’ve spoken to know it is critically important that South Dunedin people and mana whenua are front and centre of these exciting and creative possibilities," she said.

South Dunedin Business Association president Craig Waterhouse, like Mr Richardson, wanted to see the vacated racecourse site used for housing.

He hoped developers would be encouraged by local authorities not to construct the "cheapest builds on the smallest possible sites for the maximum profit".

The Toiora High Street co-housing complex, in High St, which is nearing completion, was a good example of what should be done, he said.

"A co-housing village with warm, dry, low-maintenance, low running cost, affordable housing with plenty of green space would be great to see built in this area.

"It is an ideal opportunity for a developer ... with the courage to show what a high standard can be achieved in new housing for South Dunedin."

A Dunedin City Council spokesman confirmed its staff were at yesterday’s meeting, but did not comment further.









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