Neighbours of Queenstown’s first fast-tracked affordable housing subdivision are crying foul.
Residents around Bridesdale Farm - a 147-section subdivision off Lake Hayes Estate launched in January - are angry they had no warning they’d be surrounded by densely-packed housing.
They’re also worried the local council might not hear their concerns over housing density and traffic congestion.
That’s because Bridesdale Farm is a proposed special housing area (SHA) under a council-Government accord.
The accord’s aimed at streamlining planning permission for affordable housing.
The council has already recommended the Building and Housing Minister declare it a SHA.
Neighbour Martin Macdonald says he bought his rural spread because it had plenty of space around it.
He’d thought there might be some carve-up, “but we never thought for a minute it would get chopped up into 250 to 300 square metre sites”.
“We were well and truly surprised.”
He alleges the council’s ignored a condition of its special housing area policy in recommending the minister give it the big tick.
Council had to be satisfied that “where appropriate, consultation has been undertaken including with any property owner directly affected, any directly adjoining landowners …”
Macdonald: “I’m just concerned that it’s a foregone conclusion.”
Doug Anderson says he was dumbfounded when Macdonald told him about Bridesdale Farm.
“I said, ‘you’re f..ing shitting me’.”
Anderson bought his Erskine Road property, beside one of the subdivision’s two planned entranceways, just two months earlier.
“We should have been given a call saying, ‘hey, we’re thinking of doing this’.
“It’s just a pity the council won’t talk to us - they’re looking after the developers, not the community.”
Anderson says he’ll get six Bridesdale Farm property owners along his boundary.
“I’d be happy for a development to go ahead but not on the scale they’re talking.
“There’s no way they should have been able to get this far in the process without notifying or at least talking to the people.”
Anderson’s biggest concern is traffic congestion.
Anderson, who’s building a home on his section, also fears his property value will drop “because of the downgrading”.
Lake Hayes Estate Community Association chairman Ben Espie says his organisation’s urging the council to allow his members to give their input.
That will happen, he hopes, when the developer goes for resource consent after the minister ticks off the subdivision.
Espie says it seems odd that under the housing accords legislation, a SHA can potentially happen without any public input.
“I think even the neighbours’ view is that it’s not a bad area for special housing but the current design has got a few things people would want input on - basically, the density coming right
out to the edge.