Conceptual design of Lansdowne Park Lifestyle village expansion. PHOTO/FILE

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

Consent is granted for the 55-dwelling Lansdowne village expansion north of Masterton on part of the Hansell’s block.

New Zealand Transport Authority opposed the development on road safety grounds and can appeal the decision to the Environment Court by November 22.

A condition of consent is Arvida must create a right-turning bay on State Highway 2 where none exists.

NZTA objected to this saying it was an inadequate safety remedy for drivers [mainly elderly] turning right off SH2. This was the only issue holding back consent.

It said only a full-scale roundabout here would make access safe enough.

NZTA lead safety advisor for roads and roadsides, James Hughes spoke on this issue at the consent hearing on September 12.

“The increased vehicle turning movements introduced will create an increased risk of death and serious injuries at the intersection with State Highway 2.

“A right turn bay will not reduce the seriousness of crashes which occur. Even if the posted speed limit was reduced, this is unlikely to reduce vehicle operating speeds to a sufficiently safe level.”

During the September 12 hearing, panel chairman Jonathan Hooker requested NZTA showed examples where roundabouts had been required at similar developments.

The hearing panel decided that the examples provided were not similar to this development.

Both traffic engineers for Arvida said the northbound right turn bay would be the most appropriate solution and a roundabout would be “unhelpful”.

They advised the panel that the road stretch had good visibility from the intersection and relatively low traffic volumes on the state highway.

“While we completely understand the position of safety, we consider that any additional risk, which has been assessed by Arvida roading engineers, and the subsequent effects of having a right turn bay as opposed to a roundabout is not a reason for us to decline consent,” Hooker said on behalf of the panel.

“In addition, we have been mindful of the additional land take that would be required to implement the roundabout and the consequential loss of developable area for the applicant.”

The decision was made in the context of the region wide need for additional housing supply.

“This aspect becomes more acute considering the demographic changes there are to the population as a whole, meaning additional provision for aged care also needs to be considered,” Hooker said.

The capital investment of this development into Masterton is about $29 million.

When completed, the village would generate additional employment in Masterton, bringing into the community at least $400,000 per year.

A spokesperson for Arvida said it could now move into the next phase of the development and enabling works.

“We are really excited about getting this development under way as soon as possible,” general manager marketing and sales Tristan Saunders said.

“We have significant demand and deposited waitlist applications for these new homes and facilities which will add to the already fantastic reputation of Lansdowne Park.

“We expect through this development to ease demand, free to property and bring new jobs to the area.

“Connections between the existing Lansdowne Village and the Hansells extension are very important to Arvida and preliminary discussions have taken place with council on golf cart and walking connections between the two locations.

Hansells Masterton chief executive Alan Stewart welcomed the decision and thought it was unlikely an appeal would be successful in the Environment Court.

An NZTA spokesperson said it would be going over the result and no decision has been made about appealing.