Farm land ven­ture bides time

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

‘‘Porirua’s next sub­urb’’, north of Plim­mer­ton, is on hold due to the global re­ces­sion, but there is op­ti­mism a de­vel­oper will take ad­van­tage of the strik­ing views and great lo­ca­tion in the fu­ture.

Plim­mer­ton Farm is a 386-hectare (953 acres) block of land on the east­ern side of State High­way 1. The land has been owned by the Benge fam­ily since the 1960s and has a rate­able value of $3.7 mil­lion.

Iden­ti­fied in the 2009-19 Porirua De­vel­op­ment Frame­work as an area for ‘‘in­ten­sive de­vel­op­ment’’, it has al­ready at­tracted in­ter­est from an over­seas buyer, but sales agent Chris Gollins says that fell through due to a com­bi­na­tion of coun­cil reg­u­la­tions and charges, New Zealand Trans­port Agency and the re­ces­sion.

‘‘We were close to get­ting a con­tract signed in 2007 but Tran­sit [now NZTA] were wor­ried about the ef­fects on the state high­way. Any­one look­ing to de­velop on that sort of scale is look­ing at tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in con­sents, charges and fees, and things just move so slowly.

‘‘ I think it will be years be­fore some­thing hap­pens but I have no doubt this is Porirua’s next sub­urb. We’re look­ing at an­other Whitby or Aotea, with fan­tas­tic views and great to­pog­ra­phy.’’

Mr Gollins says one way to help the econ­omy dur­ing a re­ces­sion is to in­vest in build­ing works and he hopes that will even­tu­ally see Plim­mer­ton Farm sub­di­vided.

About 1600 homes could be built, but that fig­ure might come down if some of the land is de­vel­oped for life­style blocks.

A pri­vate plan change would be needed to amend Porirua City Coun­cil’s District Plan, a move Porirua mayor Nick Leggett says the coun­cil is open to.

Mr Leggett makes no apolo­gies for the ‘‘ high en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards’’ PCC has in place, which are there to show ‘‘ a level of re­spect and at­ten­tion’’ on be­half of the pub­lic.

Sum­mer colour: Stu­dents from Els­don’s South Pa­cific Academy help paint one of nine new mu­rals at the south end of Wai­tan­girua Mall last week. Mu­ral de­signer Rad Keen, 16, pic­tured mid­dle, said it was ‘‘pretty cool help­ing out the com­mu­nity’’.

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