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Plan ‘confusing’ – residents

Richard Harvey of Greytown. PHOTO/STEVE RENDLE

Greytown residents say heritage values will suffer


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Fierce opposition to plans to open up land in Greytown for subdivision dominated a hearing by an independent commissioner at the South Wairarapa District Council in Martinborough on Monday.

Residents said they feared a loss of the town’s heritage value and impact from access roads.

The Greytown Development Area (GDA), previously known as the Future Development Area, was included in the Wairarapa Combined District Plan about 10 years ago, and encompasses land bordered by Mole St, Wood St, West St and Kuratawhiti St.

It is estimated the area, which has multiple owners, would allow for up to 450 additional residential lots and provide for at least 10 years’ growth for Greytown.

Residents were invited to submit on the proposed plan change, which would allow the GDA to go ahead.

Seventeen residents or groups were due to give submissions, with the majority seeking amendments.

Kuratawhiti St residents Richard Harvey and Abe David strongly rejected the plan change, which would lead to a proposed access road between or next to their properties.

In individual submissions, the pair said their houses were in a row of three of the oldest houses in Greytown, with Mr Harvey’s dating back to 1876.

“These are three of the most historic houses in Greytown and they want to put a road between them. We say that’s silly.

“It goes against all the effort to protect these properties.”

Mr Harvey said public consultation on the “completely confusing” plan was poorly executed and “does not meet the design objectives”.

He had “serious concerns” the GDA would change the ambiance of all properties adjoining it, especially the ones with historical significance, including Soldiers Memorial Park, which is opposite the block of three heritage houses.

Mr David said the community used the park extensively for sporting and other events, and often the surrounding streets were “bumper to bumper” with parked vehicles.

He said the proposed road off Kuratawhiti St, opposite the park, would have a negative impact on the recreational and amenity values of the park, swimming pool and children’s playground, while also increasing risks with additional traffic.

Mr David said the road would “break up the collection” of heritage houses, decreasing their value.

In his view, the road was not needed as Mole St, which provided access into the GDA, was just a few hundred metres away.

A 17m-wide designated road between Mole St and West St would provide the main access into the planned housing area.

The proposed road includes a two-metre strip of land taken from the section of West St resident Neil Hoey.

Solicitor John Porter, who represented Mr Hoey, said his client “didn’t see any justification” in having the road encroaching on his land, which featured a large ornamental gate, trees and a garage.

Mr Porter said a 15m road would be sufficient, with a surveyor concluding that the additional two-metre strip was “not required at all”.

He said the road outside the council building was 14m “gutter to gutter” including parking, which was “a big wide street” and adequate to service a medium-sized town.

Responding to a query, independent hearings commissioner Rob van Voorthuysen said if Mr Hoey did not wish to voluntarily sell his land, SWDC could still acquire it under the Public Works Act and Mr Hoey would be compensated.

Maura Marron and John Stamp aren’t opposed to the plan, but have concerns over the uncertainties it poses.

The couple live on a large section within the GDA on Wood St, and a proposed road alongside their property could limit their choices if they decided to subdivide.

But they noted that the population was growing and it was good a plan was in place to ensure growth happened strategically.

The hearings were to continue on Wednesday at SWDC in Martinborough.

Mr van Voorthuysen will evaluate the submissions and issue recommendations to SWDC, which will decide whether or not to adopt them.

Submitters will then have the right to appeal any decisions made by the council to the Environment Court.

Plan won’t bear fruit, say Greytown orchardists

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“If they had approached us we would have told them this is not going to happen – it would have saved them a lot of money.”
So says Ed Cooke, who with his wife, Juliet, established Molewood Orchard 25 years ago, right in the middle of the proposed Greytown development area.
The orchard is now owned by Molewood Orchard Trust set up by the couple, now in their mid-70s, but Mr Cooke said existing use rights remained.
“We are entitled to continue as long as we want under the RMA [Resource Management Act], as long as we don’t change the scale of the orchard, and that’s not going to happen,” he said.
The 10.8ha site, which runs between Wood and Kuratawhiti streets, is fully planted with mainly apple trees, and is currently leased by JR’s Orchards, and provides about 11 per cent of that c

Ed and Juliet Cooke of Greytown. PHOTO/STEVE RENDLE

ompany’s export fruit.
In addition, Mr Cooke said a report by the NZ Soil Bureau in the 1950s said the soil on the site was also far too valuable to cover with houses.
“The soil is of national importance,” he said.
“The council, however, is not listening. Nowhere in planning documents have we seen any reference to soil quality in terms of productivity.”
Mr Cooke said the high-quality soil was not widespread.
“There is other land that can be subdivided and should be subdivided.”
He also questioned whether South Wairarapa District Council’s numbers added up in terms of predicting growth.
The district plan predicts a total population rise of 1015 in the next 10 years, and 2327 in the next 25 years.
Mr Cooke told the independent commissioner this amounted to an average of 93 per year, or as few as 30 people per town when spread over Martinborough, Featherston and Greytown.
“That number is probably low, but that is what they have said,” he said, after making his submission.
“They are saying there is a big demand for housing . . . we believe there is sufficient subdivided sections to cover the demand.”
Mr Cooke admitted the land would be worth a considerable amount if the subdivision went ahead, but the couple were not interested in selling.
“It is about looking into the future,” he said.
Mrs Cooke said it was not just a case of NIMBYism – ‘Not in my backyard’.
“We’ve already got something else going on in our backyard – and it’s not just peace and quiet, or a view.”



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  2. My parents Jean and Fred Eastwood owned 54 Kuratawhiti Street, Greytown (the house featured in the photo) from 1980 until 1999 and I grew up there. When my parents bought the property, it was at the time threatened with subdivision. Fortunately they were able to purchase it and preserve it for future generations. My parents were part of a small group ‘The Greytown Beautification Society who lobbied for regulations to preserve the historic streetscape of the town. The reason the town has grown, developed and prospered as it is, is because of the foresight and hard work of these men and women. It is absolutely outrageous and a sacrilege to to effectively destroy an historic streetscape of such significance when a perfectly acceptable alternative exists. It will NOT benefit the town or increase the land values if the very buildings and ambience that attracts buyers is destroyed!!!

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