Fast-tracked Frankton workers' accommodation stalls again

by Kim Bowden - Jun 05, 2024

A proposal by a developer to build accommodation in Frankton to house more than 700 people has hit another stumbling block.

Australian-based No.1 Hansen Road is seeking fast-tracked consent for a 554-unit close to the BP roundabout, but the expert panel considering the application says it is finding it "very difficult" to make its decision with the information it has in front of it.

It is the latest in a string of delays in the consenting process for the development, which its proponents say would be sufficient to meet more than 10 percent of the expected increase in demand for rental accommodation in Queenstown Lakes over the next decade.

A peer review by landscape architect Anne Stevens of evidence provided by the developer on the visual impact of the planned buildings 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".

Ms Stevens concludes the developer has "over-stated" the ease with which their planned accommodation complex will blend in with its surrounds, ignoring that its site is dominated by "the open spaces of the large recreation grounds" that "buffer" it from the "more intensive higher-rise development further east, and the ONL (Outstanding Natural Landscape) hill behind".

The panel says it now needs "detailed answers" from No.1 Hansen Road to questions put forward by Ms Stevens.

"From Anne Stevens' peer review, it appears the effects on the ONL (Outstanding Natural Landscape) may be more than minor, and the application may be contrary to a number of important objectives and policies of the District Plans.

"The panel requests the applicant carefully consider Anne Stevens' report and provide detailed answers to her questions."

The panel acknowledges the "tight time frames" within which it needs to make a decision, now expected to be delivered on or after Monday, June 17.

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.

The development is expected to be built over four years, providing up to 540 full-time jobs over that time.

An economic impact report presented by the developer says more than one in five jobs in Queenstown Lakes' businesses are located within two kilometres of the Hansen Road site.

However, Queenstown Airport, in its submission, questioned the appropriateness of the location due to its proximity to the airport at Frankton. 

The airport fears having to deal with "reverse sensitivity" effects in the future that could curtail its operations.

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

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