Former Councillors Object to Apartment Consent on Hotel Land

Two former Christchurch City councillors are upset that plans to build apartments on a hotel site were approved without public knowledge.

In 2016, McConnell Property Ltd obtained resource consent to build 54 homes and a cafe on the grounds of the Hilton Chateau on the Park hotel, opposite Hagley Park.

The ground has not been broken, but the consent was granted an extension and remains valid. It has come to light as the hotel has put the land up for sale, and a new owner could build the apartments.

McConnell Property Ltd planned to develop the north side of the hotel grounds into 12 townhouses and 42 apartment units, removing four notable and protected trees.

Former councillors Helen Broughton and Barbara Stewart are challenging the process that led to the consent being granted without public opinion.

The councillors are concerned about the loss of the trees and the density of the housing if the development goes ahead.

Broughton said the consent application should have gone to a panel or commissioner and doubted any of the councillors knew about the consent.

She said it was another example of destructive development toeing the line of district planning rules, resulting in significant environmental reduction.

Whilst the mayor and other leaders were supporting the campaign to recognise Christchurch as a National Park City, the council was still allowing dense development at the cost of trees, she added.

Broughton and Stewart said they would seek a meeting with council chief executive Dawn Baxendale to request a review of their concerns.

The land is zoned for guest accommodation, which allows medium-density housing development.

In the 2016 consent, council staff noted the proposed five-storey apartment complex would be considerably higher than the surrounding buildings, but the scale would be compatible with the Christchurch Girls' High School across the road and would not directly affect the neighbours.

The consent also noted new trees were to be planted as part of the proposed development.