Greytown is gearing up for a big property injection with three subdivisions capable of boosting the town’s population by 20 per cent. BECKIE WILSON investigates what is planned for the town, and what effect it might have on residents.
Greytown is set to get a whole lot bigger.
Three plans for subdivisions – totalling about 180 units – are currently in the South Wairarapa District Council’s system awaiting resource consents.
One would be accessed by Orchard Rd, at the northern end of West St (Totara Grove), another through Westwood Ave, and the third at the southern end of town west off SH2 (Tararua Junction).
For the council, the developments are a clear indication that Greytown is an appealing destination for those buying or wanting to build.
But opponents are concerned the council has not considered all aspects of the impact on current and future residents, and would change the town for the worse.
The subdivision accessed by Westwood Ave is land owned by a family trust, and is a 4.2ha area dedicated to the council’s Future Development Area (FDA) in the combined District Plan.
The plans are for 13 lots ranging between 667m2 and 1025m2, and has potential to develop up to 60 lots.
The subdivision borders privately owned land, also under the FDA, and if that land is subdivided it could add at least another 200 sections.
The Totara Grove sections are for sale and range between 900msq and 1640msq in size.
There are about 43 sections in the plan, with the first 20 selling for between $220,000 and $250,000.
The Tararua Junction subdivision land was bought off the council by a developer about a year ago, and consists of 54 lots ranging between 766m2 and 1530m2 and valued between $159,000 and $239,000.
South Wairarapa District Council planning and environment manager Murray Buchanan said all three resource consents were currently going through the system.
The council is working through structure plans to ensure future infrastructure and access ways meet its requirements.
A consultant was employed by the council to work on reports for the subdivisions, “so it will be the consultant recommendation that we will adopt,” he said.
“Between the three [subdivisions] we are looking at potentially about 180 lots for Greytown… that is what triggered us to have to review our financial contributions policy, because the demand on services they create precedes the facilities we have, for example waste water systems.
“If you assume at least each household has two and half people then they are going to add about 500 people to Greytown which is 20 per cent of the population in terms of an increase.”
The exact number of lots will be determined by each developer’s final plans, he said.
South Wairarapa Mayor and Greytown resident Viv Napier saw the potential growth of the town as a positive, but appreciated some long-term residents may not see it that way.
“But it has been changing dramatically over the years – there has been a lot of people outside the Wairarapa come in and there are some amazing people living in [Greytown],” she said.
“It will change Greytown, but I think it has to be good for the town as it encourages and supports a great place to live.”
She was surprised that the three subdivisions were in the system at the same time, but said until “it all happens we don’t know what the effect will be”.
Former South Wairarapa deputy mayor and Greytown community board member, Mike Gray, said he did not think the council had thoroughly considered the urban design of the three subdivisions.
“It’s going to change things dramatically, in fact there are people in the town now who are seeing the character of the place change” he said.
“I do think the council is operating perhaps in a reactive mode instead of a proactive mode, and not thinking what ought to be a realistic development process here.”
The council should have a clear urban design and development policy and philosophy for the town.
He hoped the council was thinking about the town’s existing and future residents when processing the consents, in terms of access roads and impacts on facilities.
“To me, at the end of the day it’s a quality of life issue”.
South Wairarapa District councillor and Greytown resident Colin Wright said the subdivisions were a positive step forward for the town, but maintaining Greytown’s character “will be the trick”.
“You don’t want it to turn into a big bustling metropolitan area, but I can’t see that happening with the numbers that are being talked about.
“This isn’t going to be several hundred houses all built in one year, it’s going to be spread over several years, so there’s time for things to adjust.”
If there were to be a demand for various services, such as medical and education, “they will respond accordingly”.
Ideally, a range of age groups moving to the town would give it a boost with a balance, he said.
QV registered valuer David Cornford said increasing the supply of land was likely to ease the property supply pressure, and was unlikely to have negative impacts on overall house values.
“Rather than making all of the sites available in one offer, they might offer a limited number of sites in the first release followed by subsequent releases as demand allows – this helps prevent oversaturation in the market and the overall supply of residential properties on the market at any one time.”
Coping with growth
Any increase in population can put pressure on the demand for local services, but those currently operating in the town are not worrying yet.
A spokesperson for Greytown Medical Centre said the centre’s policy was to accept all new enrolments with no current limit.
In the short-term there was not likely to be an issue.
Greytown School principal Patrice O’Connor said as far as she is aware the school’s largest roll was 405, with it currently sitting at 336.
“As a school we would be confident in working with the Ministry of Education to ensure our school could cater for any future roll growth caused by the newly available sections,” she said.
There would have to be substantial growth within Greytown for the ministry to consider opening a new school, she said.
Totara Grove developer Jason Carruthers from Tomlinson & Carruthers Surveyors Ltd said he was pleased with the amount of interest in the first stage of selling, and would be opening up the next stage in mid-April.
He is hoping many families and retirees will be among those buying.
Tararua Junction developer James Thyne, from Hillview Property Investment, said the timing of all three subdivisions would put Greytown through “a real growth phase” that all businesses would benefit from.
He is expecting a wide demographic of buyers, and is predicting more Wellington commuters compared to his previous Greytown subdivision, Mawson Estate.
Greytown Harcourts agent Jaime Slater is the agent for both Totara Grove and Tararua Junction, and said since listing 20 Totara Grove sections in November last year, only three remained.
Of those who have secured a section, about half were from the region wanting to build new, and the rest were from outside the area, she said.