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'Deeply disappointed': Proponents of Arrowtown's Olive Leaf Centre are taking legal advice on whether to appeal a decision rejecting resource consent

By GUY WILLIAMS

A lobby group opposed to the ‘Olive Leaf’ building proposed for Arrowtown is relieved consent’s been declined.

Members of the NoLeaf society, formed four years ago to fight the proposal, say they hope the decision by independent commissioners, released on Monday, will be the end of the matter.

‘‘The Arrowtown community has spoken and the commissioners have heard their concerns about the ongoing protection of the historic management zone,’’ a statement from the group says.

‘‘The society hopes the matter is now closed and we can all move on from here.’’

But Olive Leaf Centre Trust boss Colin Bellett says its members will take legal advice on whether to appeal — they’ve got 15 working days from the date of the decision to lodge one.

They’re surprised and ‘‘deeply disappointed’’ by the rejection of their proposal for the multi-purpose parish and community centre on land beside the historic St Patrick’s Church, Bellett says.

They’re disappointed not only for themselves, but for the wider community.

‘‘We felt this would be an incredible gift and asset at no cost to them.’’

In their decision, commissioners Lee Beattie and Jane Sinclair say the design of the Gaudi-inspired building — designed by Lake Hayes architect Fred van Brandenburg — is ‘‘remarkable’’, but its scale, form and layout are inappropriate for the site and streetscape.

The cumulative effects on the church and its setting would be more than minor because the ‘‘simple, aesthetic, open landmark qualities’’ of the site would be significantly modified.

Although the proposal would have positive effects for the church’s congregation and the community, they wouldn’t outweigh its adverse effects, they say.

The proposal’s also contrary to key objectives and policies of City Hall’s operative and proposed district plans, breaching standards relating to building bulk and location, noise, earthworks, carparking and landscaping.

When it was publicly notified more than two years ago, the proposal attracted 368 submissions — 218 in support and 150 opposed.

It was the subject of a three-day resource consent hearing in September.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz