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'Absolutely horrifying': Ange Whipp lives immediately behind the back-section house at 11 Portree Drive

By PHILIP CHANDLER

Sparks are flying over how a section got split into two in Queenstown’s Quail Rise when subdivision’s not allowed in the suburb.

Caught in the crossfire are Queenstown’s council, for allowing the subdivision, and developer David Broomfield, who put in covenants to stop this happening.

Ironically, the fuss is over a section part-owned by his daughter, Helen Broomfield.

An original application to allow a second standalone residence at 11 Portree Drive attracted at least 40 opposing submissions.

Yet last month council gave non-notified consent for the two-lot subdivision.

Objector Adrian Snow says residents’ main concerns relate to precedence.

‘‘If it was allowed to be subdivided — which the district plan specifically says it’s not — then the gates open to create a high-density urban environment, which is not what Quail Rise was intended to be, and change the entire neighbourhood.

‘‘Everyone’s completely dismayed at the processes that have occurred.’’

From his understanding, council initially opposed the application, on the advice of a commissioner.

David Broomfield, however, objected to the Environment Court.

In court-ordered mediation, Snow says he and others thought things were going their way when they withdrew from proceedings.

‘‘But in the final mediation agreement, there was no provision prohibiting the subdivision.’’

The later subdivision application therefore sailed through last month.

‘‘The process is completely and utterly broken, because what we’ve ended up with is specifically prohibited by the Quail Rise resort zone.

‘‘I really think the council owe the residents of Quail Rise a ‘please explain’.’’

Another objector, Greg Thompson, says ‘‘what really grated with everyone’’ is that the very developer who created the covenants was the one trying to break them.

What he’s also ‘‘really annoyed’’ about is more than 50 people submitted against the original submission, yet when it was resubmitted ‘‘the whole thing went through non-notified’’.

Council planning boss Tony Avery says council’s hands were tied.

His understanding is when the council’s original decision went to appeal, the subdivision component was removed.

The Environment Court mediation, he says, centred on the applicant applying to convert a flat into a residential unit.

Avery understands when the judge queried the subdivision restriction, he invited the neighbours to return to the mediation.

But they didn’t, and he removed the restriction.

Broomfield says when he developed Quail Rise, he created very large sections of 1600 to 1800 square metres.

Times were very different 27 years ago, he notes.

‘‘What the courts have ruled is covenants are for a certain time — they get past their use-date, they’re like trees.

‘‘Both councils and governments are leaning to increased infill, we have no choice.’’

Referring to 11 Portree Drive, in which the newly-approved back section is 677sq,  Broomfield says services are all in place and the subdivision’s within zone rules.

‘‘I have no regret with what’s happened, and there are 13 or 14 other [Quail Rise] lots that  could go the same way.’’

He’s happy to see minimum lot sizes go down to 700 or 600sqm.

The neighbour most impacted by the subdivision is Ange Whipp, who lives immediately beind the back-section house.

She says it was built without consultation and alleges it’s too close to her boundary, over-height and not built to plan.

“It’s just absolutely horrifying that this has all happened.”

As a net effect, she says she’s lost her view of the Remarkables.

Broomfield, however, says Whipp’s allegations are “incorrect”, and notes she has a two-storey house.

scoop@scene.co.nz