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Residents fear impact of new road

The council-owned land destined to be the entrance way to a new retirement village. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON

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Residents of a peaceful Masterton cul-de-sac are “extremely disappointed” that a road into a new development in Solway suburb will take more traffic past their properties.

They say they bought homes on William Donald Dr for the peaceful lifestyle.

But proposed plans for a $35 million retirement village on the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park driving range land include an access road on a council reserve near Mervyn Brown Pl and William Donald Dr properties, which border the hotel grounds.

Developer Steve Pilbrow has gained consent to subdivide that land for the 70 villas, however resource consent for the construction of the villas is still being completed.

Masterton District Council says the land in question is a “local purpose reserve”, there to help the council “deliver and maintain infrastructure, including roads”.

Residents say they are not opposing the development, but question why the accessway is off William Donald Dr, taking away reserve land and not from a street closer to the development.

Some William Donald Dr residents believe it is because their development is known as a “nicer, more private development”.

Resident Tom Wilkinson was frustrated, after investing in the quiet subdivision, and meeting “very strong covenants”.

“We built our current home choosing to stay in the cul-de-sac because of its peace and quiet, and the beautiful ambience,” he said.

Wilkinson, and many other residents, were under the impression that it would remain that way.

“I would hope that in the council’s process and decision-making that they have realised that there most certainly are affected parties here turning a substantial quiet desirable cul-de-sac into a throughway to a proposed retirement village,” Wilkinson said.

John Allen’s property borders the council reserve land which he understood as “once a reserve, it was that forever”.

“That was one of the main reasons we bought the section,” Allen said.

He moved there in 2004, also under the impression William Donald Dr could not be extended.

Allen’s main concern was the increase in volume of traffic along an already narrow road.

“It’s not a very wide road and it doesn’t qualify for a white [centre] line — it was built to service the size of the development.”

Another resident, Tony Witinitara, said “we moved there for a reason”.

He is worried about the safety of his young children, who play on the front lawn, as the traffic will increase during construction and once the villas were built.

Council strategic planning manager Tania Madden said the council was carefully considering the consent application in terms of how it fitted with the district plan.

This included receiving detailed information about the road placements within the subdivision, she said.

“If there is a perceived breach of the plan, and if the effects were expected to be more than minor, we would then consider who may be affected and consult with them,” she said.

A reserve with native trees towards the back of the proposed development would not be impacted, she said.

If the development affected the walking track, it would be “reinstated” for the public.

Pilbrow said an engineering report indicated the current road was “more than capable” of coping with the minor increase in traffic flow from a retirement village.

He declined to comment on the reasoning behind the location of the entrance.

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