Battiscombe gardens to get rethink
Battiscombe Tce residents have won another reprieve for their threatened vege patches.
Last night, the New Plymouth District Council delayed for up to two months the removal of 12 gardens encroaching on to council-owned reserve land.
The council will re-investigate the decision to remove the gardens following a submission to its meeting last night.
The submission, presented by Hawke's Bay-based professional planner Grant McLachlan, said council had not properly communicated with Battiscombe Tce residents and faced a conflict of interest as both the lessor of the Battiscombe Tce properties and a public body administering the reserve land.
He said under the Fencing Act 1978 it was up to the court to settle disputes over boundaries between land occupiers in this case the council, which occupies the reserve and the Battiscombe Tce residents who occupy the properties.
Removal of the 12 gardens was due to get under way today but has now been put off until an officer's report on the issues raised in the submission has been prepared for the Waitara Community Board to consider.
This could take up to two months.
Battiscombe residents spokeswoman, Debbie Chamberlain, said after the meeting she was pleased commonsense had prevailed. "I'm absolutely thrilled that there's a chance for these things to be talked through because so far things have been rail-roaded and pushed through."
She said the gardens would now be planted with winter crops such as lupins and mustard seeds while a final decision was reached.
Mr McLachlan presented the residents' submission after seeing their plight on television several weeks ago and thinking they weren't getting fair treatment.
He said encroachment cases were seldom as straight forward as the council had made it appear.
"It's a messy business and I think in trying to make it simple they have only made it worse for themselves," he said after the meeting. "I never count my chickens on these things.
"Council needs to go away and have a look and ask 'have we acted properly'."