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.

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