The Marlborough Express recently reported about the approval of a new seasonal workers’ accommodation development:
Plans to convert an old house and pack shed near Renwick into accommodation for seasonal workers have been given the go-ahead. Marlborough District Council-appointed planning commissioner Jeremy Butler approved the application by cherry orchardists Daniel and Alistair Campbell and Oliver Foster.
The site is covers more than 2 hectares next to their cherry orchard on Hammond Rd. Seasonal workers on the recognised seasonal employer (RSE) scheme would work in the orchard and vineyards. Eighteen objectors to the development, living on Hammond Rd, have 15 working days to appeal.
Daniel Campbell said there was a need for the accommodation because of the increasing number of RSE workers in Marlborough. Marlborough’s wine industry was gaining market share internationally and more than 2000 hectares of grapes were being planted this year, with a potential 2000 more next year pushing up the need for more contract workers, Campbell said. In July last year, the annual cap of RSE workers was raised from 8000 to 9000. Campbell said seasonal workers would be forced into small rental houses if the application was turned down. “Some places might have had one toilet for 10 people. We want to create an environment where they are happy and want to come back.”
Butler said the accommodation was making a positive contribution to the viticulture industry.
Neighbours said the accommodation was not appropriate in a rural location and would set a precedent. They argued it would impact traffic safety at Hammond Rd, there would be adverse noise from the property and seasonal workers could trespass on their land when walking to Renwick.
In 2009, a complaint was lodged with the labour department about conditions in the existing accommodation. A council inspection found 22 beds that didn’t have a resource consent and wastewater standards that fell below required levels.
Granting the development, Butler said the applicant had proposed upgrades to the building. Evergreen landscaping around the site would screen its visual impact. A management plan and two on-site managers would have the power to manage residents’ behaviour and could evict workers causing a noise nuisance. The building is on the crest of a hill, and Butler said the existing road situation would be improved through a new northern entrance used exclusively by the seasonal workers. The southern entrance would be available to larger vehicles accessing the cherry orchard. Limiting the number of vehicles parked at the accommodation to eight would reduce traffic safety concerns, Butler said.
The neighbouring vineyard owned by the Hammond family might experience noise effects from the accommodation but nothing over and above what would usually be expected, Butler said.
The long-term accommodation of workers would not impact the security of Hammond Rd residents, Butler said.
– The Marlborough Express
This decision was an important step for the Applicants to be able to develop their plans for a worker accommodation facility.
The application and hearing process was a good example of coordinated efforts between Remac Consulting, the Applicant, solicitor, surveyors, and traffic engineers.
The original story can be found here.