Next generation of fast-tracked houses on way


Progress is being made on the next generation of fast-tracked houses near Queenstown.

Already, one development – Bridesdale Farm, a subdivision planned next to Lake Hayes Estate – has Government approval as a special housing area, allowing it to cut through bureaucratic red tape.

Queenstown Lakes District Council district plan manager Matthew Paetz confirmed the council had received a fresh approach from ”two or three” interested developers.

None had lodged a formal application, he says, but ”I know at least one of them is thinking seriously about the opportunity”.

Paetz would not say where the subdivisions were planned. But he said one was small-scale, at 20 houses, while the other might provide more than 100 new houses.

There were originally 13 special housing area applications, including a controversial bid by council chief executive Adam Feeley’s family trust.

Two applicants pulled out before a crucial council meeting in June and only four were deemed worthy – Shotover Country, Arthurs Point North, Onslow Road and Highview Terrace, totalling 175 sections.

Paetz says it was hoped council staff could make recommendations on those four planned subdivisions at next month’s full council meeting.

The council was not ruling out a fresh call for expressions of interest.

Meanwhile, the council has smashed a target contained in a housing accord signed with the Government a year ago.

The aim was 350 new sections and house approvals in the first 12 months, which clicked over on October 23.

Instead, the council amassed 557, comprising 242 houses with building consent and 315 new subdivision ”lots” in the Wakatipu Basin.

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust chairman David Cole says the council needed to address housing affordability.

”We’ve got more than 300 eligible households on our database who meet all of the criteria for needing assistance.

”When we look at some of these developments, it’s not the number of sections, it’s how many of those people on our database are able to be helped as a result of special housing areas.

”The answer is not very many, if any at all.”

Queenstown house prices have shot up 10.5 per cent, to $690,000, in the year to September, according to the latest real estate figures.