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Eco-village challenges urban limit

A consortium including CDL Land, Foodstuffs (South Island) and Ngai Tahu is seeking a plan change for a significant new residential subdivision just north of Christchurch city limits in Prestons Rd.

It will be bigger than the controversial Pegasus Town 25km north of the city and has potential for up to 6000 residents in 2500 homes (Pegasus is expected to house about 5000 residents).

The proposal is another blow for the ambitions of regional planners now in the throes of trying to impose a green belt around main urban settlements in Canterbury.

A plan change hearing for this new green belt has been delayed until next year due to a court challenge from a developer.

Part of the Prestons Rd property lies outside the arbitrary red lines that the planners driving the urban development strategy have marked on maps.

But it is unlikely that commissioners hearing the Prestons Rd plan change would accept objections from the regional council given the integrated nature of the new "eco village."

And due to historical patterns of urban development, Prestons Rd is located just seven kilometres north of Cathedral Square - closer than many existing outerlying suburbs.

The 203ha area is bounded by Mairehau Rd to the south and Lower Styx Rd to the north, bisected by Prestons Rd. It is zoned Rural 3 and the private plan change application would seek a mix of Living G and Business zoning.

The developers are strongly emphasising the "sustainability" of the new development, which will provide for green linkages and water and energy conservation.

They have been working on the plan for two years and describe it as a 10-year development proidng employment, schooling, housing, community and recreational facilities, linking with the public transport network and close to the recreational areas of Bottle Lake Forest and two established golf courses.

The population of greater Christchurch is expected to increase 21 per cent to 501,300 by 2026 and a further 9 per cent to 548,520 by 2041

More by by Chris Hutching