10 Mar 2019

Controversial housing plan: Queenstown opponents vow to continue fight

11:43 pm on 10 March 2019

The fight to stop a special housing area earmarked for near Queenstown's main highway is far from over, a campaigner says.

Development of Shotover Country, an area of Queenstown only began in 2012 – it's now it’s jam-packed

The Shotover Country development is among recently established housing areas in Queenstown that are now jam-packed. Photo: RNZ Insight/Timothy Brown

Queenstown Lakes District Council decided to defer its decision on the controversial Laurel Hills development until next month.

By deferring the decision, the 156-house proposal could appear alongside four other special housing areas the council is expecting to receive.

Council staff had earlier recommended that the proposal be given the green light to start negotiating a stakeholder deed. The majority of more than 300 submissions to the council opposed the development.

Queenstown resident Justine Farquharson said the community welcomed the breathing room, but would be ready to make their voices heard at the meeting.

She said adding more houses would add pressure on already congested roads and busy schools.

"I think it shows a confidence for community members that the council has actually gone 'OK, we're going to put the brakes on, we're going to hear and really think about this before we go ahead and do it' as opposed to going ahead and doing it and letting us live with it," Ms Farquharson said.

People were spilling out of the council's meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Laurel Hills project director Tim Allan said the special housing area was part of the solution, not the problem. He was among those at the meeting and spoke during the public forum.

"Ladies Mile is a logical location for urban development and this particular site is suitable for urban development ... to date, all the experts concur with us that Laurel Hills is well-designed and has an integrated urban form as part of Shotover Country and the wider Ladies Mile," Mr Allan said.

If all five special housing area proposals are received, the council could consider the fate of more than 2500 houses at its next full meeting on 18 April.