Thumbs up, thumbs down to Queenstown subdivisions


Five Wakatipu subdivisions have been scrutinised by nationwide planning boffins Boffa Miskell – with mixed findings. 

The Queenstown Lakes District Council-commissioned study assesses “urban design qualities” and ranks them on eight criteria. 

These include their fit with their surroundings, overall quality, ratio of scale between built and natural environments, and building height to road width ratios. 

Lake Hayes Estate - thumbs down

“This type of subdivision could be found anywhere,” Boffa says.
- Only one ‘Successful’ score – plus two ‘Acceptable’, four ‘Less Successful’ and one ‘Not Successful’
- Out-of-town location without local shopping or services a “major concern” – dormitory development reliant on car/bus
- “Remote [with] island feel” – should have been stand-alone village with shops, employment, childcare
- wide roads encourage speeding. 

Lake Hayes Estate planning consultant Neil McDonald slammed Boffa’s report at a QLDC meeting earlier this month. 

The Otago Daily Times reported McDonald telling council’s strategy committee that the development is “very similar” to an earlier LHE subdivision layout and design plan – authored by none other than Boffa Miskell.

Fernhill – thumbs up

This 1970s subdivision gets a pass – just – with two ‘Successful’ scores, five ‘Acceptables’ and one ‘Less Successful’. 

- Remaining views are “spectacular”, Boffa says, but many views lost through private developments and driveways
- Quality of materials, appearance and maintenance below par
- Skinny roads
- Cold as charity in winter. 

Goldfields - thumbs up

No reservations – a good subdivision, Boffa says, with four ‘Successful’ ratings, three ‘Acceptables’ and one ‘Less Successful’.
- Rock faces and “glimpse views” significant visual elements
- Dwellings well integrated into landscape
- Clustering of buildings gets big tick
- Although “some buildings visually dominant”, there’s a “reasonably successful scale of development”.

Arthurs Point – thumbs up

These two smaller subdivisions – both adjoining Atley Road on your right as you head for Coronet Peak – pass with flying colours. 

Between them, they get eight ‘Successful’ scores, five ‘Acceptables’ and three ‘Less Successfuls’.
- Building covenants “assist in overall quality”
- Some boundary treatments could be improved
- Road-reserve “swales” attractive
- One entrance “disappointing”