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Focus on community

CAPTION: Developer Murray Searle, left, with Property Brokers sales agent Benn Milne on the 5.4ha development in Greytown PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

Experienced subdivision developer Murray Searle places high importance on getting a feel for the community and what it wants.

As he waits for council approval on the $2.5m subdivision in Greytown, he is reaching out to the community, hoping they can contribute to features of the upcoming stages of the development.

The first 13 lots in Stage One have almost all sold, with Mr Searle hoping the rest will be taken within the next few months.

Mr Searle is an experienced builder, but now prefers to design homes. He has completed several subdivisions on the Kapiti Coast, with his latest one nearing completion.

He was looking for another subdivision to take on, however, his last one was a third of the size of his Greytown sections.

“Basically, I saw it in the paper and thought it’s twice the size of what we really thought we’d like to do,” he said.

“But we thought this is just so perfect — so close to town.”

The 5.4ha subdivision accessed from Westwood Ave and West St is co-owned by the Searle Family Trust, Murray and Jenny Searle, and three other developers — Brent Olliver, Tony Lincoln and Neil Koot — who have been friends since their schooldays.

The land is part of the South Wairarapa District Council’s Future Development Area (FDA) in the combined district plan, and borders the upmarket Westwood Ave development.

The new subdivision also borders privately-owned land, also under the FDA, and if that land is subdivided it could add at least another 200 sections.

“The sections will vary from 1000m2 down to 700m2, and we think the community may want a few smaller ones thrown in as well,” Mr Searle said.

“We have to wait for the over-riding structure plan to come out but . . . the community may want a dozen or so small sections, and the rest may be bigger.”

The plans is to do a stage per year. He hopes to get all the road infrastructure done by next year.

In the plans waiting for approval is the placement of a cul-de-sac off the Westwood Ave entrance to prevent an increase in traffic in the Westwood Ave subdivision.

Later in the year there will be a launch party once the Future Development Plan has been released by the council.

This will offer the community a chance to learn more and have input on some designs of the next stages.

Some people have already approached Mr Searle asking for specific-sized sections, he said.

Property Brokers sales agent Benn Milne shares the listings with fellow agent Amy Bailey. What sets this development out from the others were the developers’ focus on involving the local community, Mr Milne said.

Eight of the thirteen sections in stage one have already sold.

“Wellington and Auckland buyers make up about 50 per cent of our market with 40 per cent local and 10 per cent from the likes of Hawke’s Bay and overseas, usually expats returning home,” he said.

Peonies up for grabs

As a chance to meet with the community and support local charities, the developers are hosting a ‘pick-a-peony’ day every Sunday in May for their subdivision on Westwood Ave.

The area was originally an apple orchard, and was then converted to peony crops for importing.

The peonies remain, but need to be removed as they are an obstruction to putting in future infrastructure.

Developer Murray Searle wants the plants to go to good homes, and is offering the community the peony bulbs for $10 a plant.

“We don’t want them wasted,” Mr Searle said.

“It’s an exciting type of project and we get to meet people at the same time.”

There are more than they realised with an expected “thousands” of bulbs.

He would like to give the plants to the council to plant in community spaces for everyone to enjoy, he said. Proceeds will go to the Greytown School and the Greytown Sports and Leisure Society.
Access off 104A West St, Greytown every Sunday in May between 11am and 1 pm. Bring gloves and buckets.

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