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Neighbours at war over Hotchin's Waiheke hideaway

Neighbours of a Mark Hotchin-associated luxury Waiheke Island hideaway have gone to court to regain access to the property. 

The multi-million dollar property, which spans four hectares at 46a Matapana Road in Boatshed Bay, is owned by Hotchin linked trust KA No 3. It has been on the market since March 2013 but is subject to a caveat held by Olo Ltd since April of last year.

Olo Ltd's sole shareholder, Steve Casper, bought a neighbouring section, 34 Matapana Rd, in 2010 from another Hotchin associated trust, KA No 4. 

Mr Casper bought the property with the aim of demolishing the existing building and building a new home.

He had an arrangement with the trustees of KA No 3 that allowed him access for vehicles through 46a Matapana Road on to his property so that he could do this. The route was also used by Mr Casper and his partner Jo Richmond when they moved into the home.

Lawyer Ben Russell representing Olo Ltd told the High Court at Auckland this morning the parties had been at loggerheads during November and December last year after the arrangement turned sour.

His clients believed their neighbours were trying to change the terms of the arrangement.

The property's caretaker, Jillian Alison, told the couple they could not longer use the accessway and the driveway was blocked and a gate put up to stop them. 
Mr Casper and Ms Richmond disputed the evidence of the property's caretaker, who claims the pair had used the accessway in May when, in fact, they were overseas from March to September 2013. 

Mr Russell says his client does not want to defer the sale of the multi-million dollar property but wants an extension of a caveat on the property or a new caveat to be granted protecting the same rights to go through the property. He says the dispute between the neighbours had delayed the renovations and caused extra costs to his clients. 

David Chisholm QC, representing KA No 3, told the court the important issue was whether the agreement was for a contractual licence or whether the parties objectively agreed to an easement.

He argued there was no easement because the arrangement was unclear about where access began and ended.

He said the boundary between the properties is about 16 metres and a right of way would need to define specifically where the route began. Mr Chisholm added the neighbourly dispute was crying out for settlement and that it was madness to spend money in the High Court arguing over it. 

Justice Graham  Lang said on reviewing the evidence there seemed to be a clearly defined route and ,since KA No 3 agreed vehicular access would be given, it was implied that the most practical route would be taken. The judge reserved his decision, which is expected within two weeks.


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