Planners approve of Bridesdale Farm


Queenstown’s densest housing development is one step closer to being built.

Fast-tracked subdivision Bridesdale Farm has been approved by council planners before next week’s resource consent hearing.

However, approval comes at a cost.

Plans for 10 houses and a garden allotments area near the Kawarau River are not favoured by the planner.

Developers Chris and Michaela Meehan, the Queenstown couple behind Wanaka’s Northlake subdivision and the high-end Lake’s Edge, at Kawarau Falls, have applied to build 145 houses on a 32.3ha site next to Lake Hayes Estate.

It is rural land, outside the district’s urban growth boundary.

Queenstown’s council senior planner Anita Vanstone says overall the development was acceptable and recommended consent be granted.

Her report to hearing commissioners says: “The proposal will result in the supply of affordable housing for the district by delivering a higher density but well-designed development.”

However, she says 10 houses and an area of proposed garden allotments and sheds were “inappropriate” for an outstanding landscape on the site.

She agreed the gardens could potentially become an eyesore.

Her report says: “The proposal would result in a relatively large, permanent and irreversible effect on a sensitive landscape that has little capacity to absorb additional change.”

In June, the Government approved Bridesdale as a so-called “special housing area”, which would minimise urban sprawl and increase Queenstown’s housing supply at a level deemed “affordable”.

As a trade-off, the developers are allowed to bypass public consultation and much of the usual council red tape.

Affordable at Bridesdale means smaller sections and houses.

There is no provision for community housing.

In the consent application, Meehan says the 117 parcels known as Bridesdale Farm home lots are “significantly smaller than the average lot size in any other residential neighbourhood in the Wakatipu Basin.”

The floor area of the proposed homes is from 92sqm to 131sqm and the average section size is 313sqm.

But the combined land and house cost, fully landscaped, is under $450,000. September’s real estate figures state Queenstown’s median house price is $690,000.

Limited notification attracted 11 submissions, 10 of which were in opposition. Seven people have asked to speak at the hearing, which will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Vanstone flags water and stormwater upgrades to serve Bridesdale – but is silent on whether the developer should wear the cost of a water main upgrade.

Her report says there was a “low” chance of house types being repeated.

She is comfortable that the effects of increased traffic – potentially 1214 vehicles per day in Lake Hayes Estate, and increased flow on to State Highway 6 – would be less than minor.

The Otago Regional Council has asked for a further report on potential flooding of the site.

When Bridesdale applied for consent, 64 people had signed sale agreements, 72 per cent owner-occupiers and 28 per cent investors.

If the development is approved, the existing category three building McBride Cottage will be protected and converted into a cafe.

– Otago Daily Times