Village to cost at least $150m
A $150 million retirement village in Lower Hutt is a step closer – but it will come at a hefty cost to future residents.
Resource consent has finally been lodged for Summerset’s long-mooted Boulcott retirement village.
The cost of the development has rocketed by around $50 million, which Summerset attributes to delays caused by neighbours, who oppose its scale.
The increase would be passed on to residents who bought into the upmarket facility.
Summerset has had an interest in the 3.3-hectare Boulcott site since 2012. It purchased the land from the Boulcott’s Farm Heritage Golf Club, after it was made redundant by an upgrade to the Hutt River stopbanks.
In April 2013, then Summerset chief executive Norah Barlow said it would be a ‘‘$100 million-plus’’ facility.
‘‘It will mean local jobs for local people ... it is very positive news for the Hutt Valley,’’ she said at the time.
The proposal met stiff opposition from locals, who mounted a legal challenge.
Neighbours argued that the five-storey buildings would dominate their views and be out of character with neighbouring properties. Military Rd is one of the most exclusive in the Wellington region, featuring large sections and expensive houses.
Summerset subsequently sought and achieved a change to the District Plan.
Development manager Phil Stanley said a resource consent application was lodged last week for a $150 million development.
It would still feature one fivestorey building but the latest design was very different from the one that neighbours originally opposed, he said.
Buildings had been set further back from the boundary and the facades designed to blend into the environment.
Recommendations from an urban designer had been incorporated into the design to meet the concerns raised by neighbours, he said.
The village would have 247 units, including an innovative dementia unit based on a Levin model for which Summerset recently won an award from the New Zealand Aged Care Association.
Summerset chief executive Julian Cook said it had been a long process to reach the point where they were now seeking consent.
In the six years since work began on the project, there had been a significant rise in construction costs.
The increase would be reflected in the price, which he said was unfortunate for the 350 people on the waiting list.
He was confident of getting consent and said there had been a genuine attempt to produce a design acceptable to neighbours.
‘‘We have spent a lot of time on the design and how to mitigate the impact on neighbours.’’
Resident Dennis Page said that without seeing plans, it was hard to comment, but he predicted the fight had only just begun.
‘‘Neighbours will find quite a considerable amount in their plan disturbing and I think you will still see a reasonable level of opposition.’’
Residents were concerned about the scale of the proposed development and its visual impact, and he doubted the new design would offer a significant improvement.
‘‘You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig ... I am sure that their spin doctors will be putting a positive spin on it.’’
Residents were not opposed in principle, but didn’t want it to dominate their neighbourhood, he said.
The Hutt City declined to comment. Council
When then Summerset chief executive Norah Barlow (right) announced plans for the $100 million development, in April 2013, she said it would be finished within five years.