Drop a storey or it's a no - ultimatum for Hansen Rd developer

by Kim Bowden - Jun 11, 2024

Decision makers considering whether or not to consent a development that would deliver hundreds of extra beds targeting Queenstown's workforce is indicating they will decline the project unless major changes to plans are made quickly.

The Hansen Road Workers Accommodation is being considered under a fast-track consenting process introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the panel working through the application must now deliver a verdict in six days' time - Monday, June 17.

However, in a latest memo, the panel tells the applicant, Australian-based No.1 Hansen Road, that if it was to deliver a final decision on the application before it, it would be a no.

But it does offer a way forwards: "The panel is open to considering a reduced-height proposal".

It proposes removing one storey from each of five blocks of units, which it considers "are most at odds" within the existing landscape and zoning rules.

"We do not know whether what it proposes is economically feasible, nor does our expertise extend to engaging in a redesign exercise for the applicant.

"What the panel wishes to know is whether the applicant wants the opportunity to lodge amended plans that give effect to our indication."

According to documents lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority the development at 1 Hansen Road, beside Queenstown's BP roundabout, could house up to 710 people across eight buildings, in hostel-styled rooms as well as one, two, and three-bedroom units, with communal facilities provided within the buildings too.

In the application, No.1 Hansen Road presents evidence from local economist Benje Patterson arguing the complex as currently designed would meet more than 10 percent of the expected increase in demand for rental accommodation in Queenstown Lakes over the next decade.

Mr Patterson's report also says more than one in five jobs in Queenstown Lakes' businesses are located within two kilometres of the Hansen Road site.

However a peer review of other evidence presented by the developer on the visual impact of the planned buildings by landscape architect Anne Stevens has raised concerns.

In her report, presented at the end of May, Ms Stevens says the developer has "incorrectly used a non-statutory and assumed 'metropolitan' future as the receiving environment against which to assess effects".

According to the panel, the recent felling of trees close to the site, which would have obscured some of the development, have exacerbated landscape effects.

It also notes the buildings as currently proposed would impact on views of the distant Crown Range.

Main image (EPA): A worker accommodation complex planned for 1 Hansen Road, Frankton.

Read more: Fast-tracked Frankton workers' accommodation stalls again

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