31 Jan 2017

Removal of power pylons could boost NP suburb

6:50 pm on 31 January 2017

Homeowners in a New Plymouth suburb are hoping for spike in property prices when power pylons that once serviced a now defunct power station are finally removed.

New Plymouth power pylon

Transpower says it cannot promise that all 10 of the pylons in Spotswood would be removed. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The power station was decommissioned eight years ago, but national grid operator Transpower is still using the pylons that tower over the seaside suburb of Spotswood.

Rangitake Drive resident Shaun Massey-Takamori has a tower looming directly over his home.

He said he had always been worried about its effect on his health and got irritated by its hum.

"Our house is pretty much almost directly underneath the column and it's definitely an eyesore. We have a lot of family cringe quite often when they come out the back and see it there and fact of the humming of it does put a lot of people off when it's wet."

Mr Massey-Takamori said he would be pleased when the tower was finally gone.

"It'll be one of the best things ever not to have to step outside and see it everyday and just the fact of the increase in price for the area, for ourselves, for our home and for the look of the community as well."

Shaun Massey-Takamore has a high-voltage power pylon looming over his back garden.

Shaun Massey-Takamori has a high-voltage power pylon looming over his back garden. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Harcourts New Plymouth real estate agent Shelly Landon-Lane said homeowners in the area could expect an immediate boost to prices if the pylons were removed, especially those living directly in their shadow.

"You know those each there are probably about the $220,000 to $230,000 mark. They've got incredible sea views but they're blighted by the cables and pylons.

"However remove that and those properties could expect a jump of $50,000 to $60,000."

The national grid still connects to a substation at the site of the decommissioned power station, but local lines company Powerco wants to spend $7 million to supply electricity to western New Plymouth via an underground cable instead by 2020.

And this has set tongues wagging in Spotswood.

Another Rangitake Drive homeowner, Lance Snowden, said the seaside suburb would flourish if the pylons came out but he was not convinced it would ever happen.

"They've said that so many times it's just same old, same old. They won't take them because to take them out you've got to spend money where they've got to spend money you won't get nothing. That's just the way it is.

"I'll be dead in my box by the time they take them out I reckon, I really do."

Transpower grid general manager Stephen Jay said the company was investigating the reconfiguration of its network in New Plymouth, which would most likely involve power entering the city directly at its Carrington St substation.

But he could not promise Spotswood would be free of all 10 pylons in the neighbourhood.

"Well I wouldn't like to be able to confirm that they will be free of them yet until we work through our detailed design, but if we are able to underground something or remove a structure that causes an aesthetic impact or leaves an aesthetic impact of course it's going to be good for our stakeholders and the local community."

Transpower has budgeted up to $20 million for decommissioning the towers and those that do eventually come down, should be removed in about two years time - a day that could not come soon enough for Spotswood homeowners.

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