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Peninsula plans pull in a crowd

A community open day at the Raglan Town Hall last Saturday to acquaint locals with ambitious development plans across the Raglan West causeway attracted a “great turnout” of maybe more than 200 locals, says Raglan farmer and businessman David Peacocke.

And he’s now looking forward to a second showing early next month — this time on the Rangitahi Peninsula itself — of the project he’s promoting as “a model for sustainable urban development”.
People will be able to walk to the old stone jetty — later to be restored as an historic feature — and have a good look around, he told the Chronicle. They’ll also be able to get a feel for the walking/cycling trail on the western side of the peninsula, past the golf course and out onto Te Hutewai Road.

The planned development intersperses more than 10 kilometres of integrated walkways, cycleways and bridle paths among a maximum of 500 houses, as outlined in the Chronicle advertorial of the past two weeks.

David’s convinced the peninsula is an ideal area to accommodate the town’s future growth and through his company — the Raglan Land Company — has launched a private plan change that will seek to have the area’s coastal zoning amended to the “Rangitahi Living Zone”.

While the majority of Saturday’s feedback was positive, he says, a major concern was the increase of traffic on Opotoru Road where longtime locals have for decades enjoyed a quiet neighbourhood.
David emphasises however that development will be “well managed and incremental, over a long period of time”. He foresees the project taking up to 40 years to complete.

Small, staged developments of, say, 20 sections at a time — as consents are granted — will be the norm, he insists. Even with an eventual 500 homes, that would represent sustainable urban development on only 40 percent of the peninsula’s land area.

The Commonground urban design team engaged by the Raglan Land Company urged those who turned out for the open day to think “nice, clustery little communities” amid bush surrounds, pointing out the DOC reserve bushline on the edge of the peninsula which will be connected by walking tracks.

It’s designed to be a neighbourhood of both weekenders and fulltime residents, they added, with reserves, community gardens, a few shops, perhaps even a vineyard-style restaurant to accommodate a lifestyle in which people do not necessarily have to use their cars.

Despite Opotoru Road residents’ protests that their road will become too busy, David believes it’s the only viable access to the peninsula. But he adds there could well be linking roads to Te Hutewai and Maungatawhiri Roads in time to take the pressure off.

A two-way bridge, which has already been consented, will be built across the causeway within three or four years, he says.

He contends peninsula traffic won’t impact as much as some residents have suggested on the one-way bridge linking Raglan town and Raglan West because of the “incremental” nature of the development. And he suggests it’s not local so much as visitor traffic heading out beyond Raglan West to the surf that will ultimately demand a wider Wainui Road bridge.

Some Opotoru Road residents however have dismissed the development merely as “a money-making scheme” and told the Chronicle it’s a “huge issue” for them in terms of disruption to their lifestyle.
“It’s going to be problematic,” said one resident, predicting an overload of the Raglan West side of town which would create major congestion.

She was told by a designer on the day however there would be a management plan in place for construction traffic — which initially might come through another track — and that “staged development” afterwards would ensure minimal disruption.

Edith Symes

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