22 Apr 2021

Golf course development critics claim house values will drop

From Checkpoint, 6:13 pm on 22 April 2021

Rotorua residents fighting to save Rotorua's Springfield Golf Course claim a proposed development on the site could wipe up to $100,000 off the values of neighbouring houses.

Saving Springfield - the residents group opposing the move - says it is not just about the money.

Earlier this week Checkpoint reported on a heated public meeting about the Rotorua Lakes Council proposal that could see the 70-year-old course absorbed into a new recreation precinct, which would also include housing.

"The whole idea is absolutely repugnant to most residents," Saving Springfield president Robert Lee told Checkpoint.

He said nine out of 10 people he had encountered while collecting signatures for his petition against the proposal were happy to sign.

"And there's about one out of 10 who are either Council employees or belong to another club or have special interests, but we have a lot of support.

"There's a whole lovely suburb that's been built around the golf course, and the golf course really is the heart of Springfield."

He said house prices were an issue, but claimed it was "not a driving factor".

"I've spoken to a real estate agent who specialises in the area. He estimates it would take $100,000 off the value of every property that touches the course. That's about 100 houses.

"And it would take about $50,000 off value of properties across the road.

"It would destroy the neighbourhood, I believe.

"We don't really like to talk in terms of the financial implications because to Springfield residents it's a hell of a lot more than just numbers.

"It's not about the money, but there are financial implications," Lee said.

He said there was a woman in the neighbourhood of retirement age and had a retirement home opportunity set up.

"Now she can't even sell her house because the price values apparently have dropped, so I've been told.

"Rotorua Lakes Council proudly have put out a video for the long-term planning consultation and they use words like: 'We want to make Rotorua a great place to live, work, play and invest. Springfield already is a great place to live, work, play, and invest. And this would turn 70 years'-worth of people's investments into a really bad investment."

Lee acknowledged there was a shortage of housing and he blamed the mayor and council.

"The mayor has been in this job. This is her third-term now, and the council had been very slow at releasing properties. That said, there are 790 sections being released about two minutes' drive from the Springfield golf course.

"There's also another 2000 properties being released on the other side of town. So the housing issue is the red herring and the council have sold this proposal to us as a sports precinct to be funded by housing, but not really as a solution to the housing problem."

The council has said it is faced with inadequate sports fields and facilities that are not up to future capacity.

"Is golf a sport?" Lee said. "The proposal here is to destroy one sports field, and replace it with other sports fields, which isn't really a net gain."