More than 100 expressions of interest

An artist’s impression of the proposed retirement community, The Orchards, in Greytown. PHOTO/FILE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE

gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

With consent now granted, work on The Orchards retirement village in Greytown could begin as early as January next year.

Lindsay Daysh, the independent commissioner appointed to consider the potential impacts of the project and oversee the consent process, heard from submitters at a two-day hearing in August and has now released his decision.

In his decision, he said the proposed development would have “positive effects” by providing retirement and aged care in South Wairarapa.

He said such advantages outweighed the loss of productive land and that Greytown expansion would result in “the loss of land currently in production regardless of where it is”.

The South Wairarapa District Council still needs to give final sign off on changing the zoning of the land from rural to residential, but developer Craig Percy said this wouldn’t hinder work getting started.

“It’s not a challenge because the resource consent is separate to the plan change,” he said. “We can go ahead and start construction without the plan change.”

He hoped construction of the show villa and civil works would commence in January with the main construction of stage one of the project to start in May or June.

Each month work would begin on three of the villas, taking about four months total to complete each, meaning the first residents could be moving in by October or November.

Conditions relating to the financial contributions payable for upgrades of council infrastructure, such as roads, and stormwater and wastewater systems, had been agreed upon by the developers and SWDC following the hearing.

Percy said the council had been supportive in their approach.

He had also worked through concerns raised during the submissions process with neighbouring properties about mitigating the impacts of the construction.

“The relationship all the way through is really important to us,” he said.

Early planting and keeping more than 700 trees at the former Murphy’s Orchard site would help with this and prevent noise pollution.

There was still a bit of flexibility as the care and communal facilities designs would only be finalised over the next 18 months, allowing the potential for a two-storey building.

However, the villas would be single-storey structures.

Percy said he was excited that the consent had been approved.

“Combined with what we’re doing with Five Rivers, it’s really putting the South Wairarapa on the map.”

He said it was unfortunate the timing had not lined up for residents and staff at Arbor House, which announced it was closing last week.

“It’s very sad because we were working really closely with Arbor House,” he said.

Although he hadn’t started any marketing, Percy said there was already more than 100 expressions of interest.

The new council would likely sign off the land change at its next meeting.

  • More information and expressions of interest can be made online, at: theorchardsatgreytown.co.nz/