Bridesdale edges closer to approval


Developers of Queenstown’s first fast-tracked housing subdivision are moving to meet the demands of council-appointed commissioners.

Bridesdale Farm has lodged a consent to build roads and houses around the historic McBride Cottage, built about 1872.

It will be the centrepiece of the 134-home development, to be built on a 32ha block next to Lake Hayes Estate.

The cottage was built by one of the Wakatipu Basin’s original farming families and is thought to be of comparable age to downtown Queenstown’s oldest building, Williams Cottage.

It will be renovated and converted into a cafe if the developers’ plans are approved.

Last month, commissioners appointed by Queenstown’s council gave Bridesdale the preliminary go-ahead.

But they made significant changes, including deleting some lots, and instructed developers to make a separate consent to undertake work within the curtilage area of the cottage.

The consent, which has now been lodged, states earthworks would be undertaken in the area surrounding the cottage to build roads, trenches for house services, and flat buildable areas for sections.

Converting the cottage into a cafe ‘‘will preserve and enhance the heritage value of this building and the setting’’, the application says.

A heritage report prepared for the developers last year said the cottage had been progressively modified by subsequent owners but was still a good record of an early settlers’ building.

The report from Jackie Gillies+Associates said the ‘‘main part of the original cottage, including remains of the original shingles and door/window, still survive in very good condition’’.

However, the proposed earthworks could destroy the remains of nearby 19th-century buildings or features below the ground.

They include a water race and the wall bases, floors and foundations of a dairy outbuilding.

Bridesdale Farm Developments, a company associated with Chris and Michaela Meehan, was granted an archaeological authority by Heritage New Zealand last April to undertake works on the early pastoral site.

The authority demanded parts of water races not be modified or destroyed, and the remnants of the dairy building be incorporated into the development by becoming the floor of a new house or by being preserved and covered with strengthened glass.

Under the proposed subdivision, the cottage’s 6483sqm title — one of four adjoining titles that make up Bridesdale — will be shrunk to 1102sqm.

Bridesdale was approved by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith as a special housing area, a special red-tape-cutting status covered by legislation aimed at getting more sections on to Queenstown’s overheated housing market.

Once Bridesdale’s developers lodge amended plans and conditions, the commissioners have said they will issue a final decision.