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Consultation on Greytown land

Greytown Rugby Club. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Consultation is under way regarding the future of community lands in Greytown.

In February, Greytown Trust Lands Trust was set to approve $1 non-assignable perpetual ground leases for the sites which house Cobblestones Museum, the Greytown Bowling Club, and the Greytown Rugby Football Club at 123 East St.

Under this proposal, South Wairarapa District Council would take over the lease of 123 East St to facilitate a multi-sports recreation space.

However, signing off on a perpetual lease would mean the land involved would be valued at “zero commercial value”, according to technical property adviser Paul Broughton.

The decision was deferred after trustee Sid Kempton brought an 11th-hour proposal to the table, to which other trustees dissented.

His proposal was to offer a rent subsidy to the organisations leasing the land, reviewable every six years, in line with trustee rotations.

Several months have passed since, and now the trust is consulting with the community on a proposal to offer 99-year ground leases for the lands.

Rent would be $1 a year.

Submissions close at 11.59pm on Sunday, August 28. A decision on the future of the land will be made in October.

Trust board chairman Phil Holden said increasing residential property prices were driving rents up on the community lands.

“Over the years, we have given our community organisations a combination of grants and discounts to help pay the rent, but that approach hasn’t really been satisfactory.”

He said the changes the trust was considering were effectively in two parts.

“For the rugby and bowling clubs, new leases would be drawn up to cover the land they currently utilise, with the balance offered in new leases to the South Wairarapa District Council to be utilised for broader community activity.

“The rent for these new leases would be one dollar per annum.

“A new lease for the Cobblestones Museum would see its rent also go down to one dollar per annum with some provisions to encourage wider community activity on the site.”

Holden said the new lease arrangements would give these longstanding community organisations certainty over their rent, security over their tenancy, and would mean the trust would no longer have to provide large grants or offer substantial discounts to offset unaffordable market rents.

Information about the proposals is on the trust’s website greytowntrustlands.org.nz.

There is a survey there that people are invited to complete.

Hard copy submissions would also be accepted, and these can be deposited at the Greytown Public Library or sent directly to the trust.

Holden said the trust had been encouraged by the response to date, with more than 100 completed surveys after just a few days. – NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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