DCC: Non-notified resource consent Leith Valley 19-lot subdivision #ULCA

259 Malvern Street Dunedin (LUC-2014-631)
This consent was an application to/for earthworks to form building platforms for 19-lot residential subdivision at 259 Malvern Street Dunedin. This was considered by the Council’s Senior Planner (Consents) on 1 January 2008.

DCC Non-notified Consent Decisions (2015) LUC-2014-631 [page 8 as at 26.8.15]
Source: DCC Non-notified Consent Decisions, page 8 as at 26.8.15

DCC Webmap - 259 Malvern Street (JanFeb 2015)DCC Webmap – 259 Malvern Street (Jan/Feb 2013)

Received from Jeff Dickie (Woodhaugh)
Wed, 26 Aug 2015 at 10:10 a.m.

Subject: dodgy valuations

There’s a 19-lot subdivision underway in Malvern Street, just past the bridge after Patmos Avenue. What makes this odd is that it was granted non-notified consent.

There is a ground swell of anger that this has been allowed. None of the residents knew anything about it until it was through.

It also appears to be within Dunedin’s Leith Valley Urban Landscape Conservation Area [ULCA24], that incidentally was foisted on me. I spent $25,000 fighting this including appealing to the Environment Court. I employed a QC, a barrister and an Environmental Planner. In summary, the Judge said I had a right to feel aggrieved. However, he was reluctant to make a ruling that could potentially open the floodgates to other cases against a local authority [DCC].

It meant people like me, and all the other affected re-zoned owners were privately funding a public visual amenity, a de facto reserve.

The reason I felt so aggrieved is that it has happened to me before with an eight and a half acre section directly opposite Millbrook in Queenstown. My partners and I have owned this for about 26 years and have been obstructed for that entire time. Surrounding us everywhere is quite intensive development and ours remains an island of undeveloped land. Our intentions had been for very restrained use, unlike our more successful neighbours, who are clearly “better connected” than us!

The Leith Valley case is odd. The ULCA was supposed to protect the rocky escarpment and bush area and the latest development doesn’t do that.

I’m not certain, but I’ve been told the developer is John Dunckley, a valuer.
He used to live on-site but now lives in Motueka. Ironically, he objected to a neighbour’s subdivision on the grounds of spoiling his view. One has to wonder how on earth this was granted by the DCC. A reward for favours past?

John Dunckley is the ‘stadium valuer’. He put the eye-watering $225M value on the just completed well over budget stadium. That in effect validated the cost overruns.


It appears the developer Dunckley has chosen to push through with subdivision prior to public consultation of the proposed 2GP this year. Very possibly, the existing overlay of ULCA24 should have been one of the factors necessitating full public notification of the application for (land use) consent. The decision should be investigated or challenged due to the number of potentially affected / interested parties not made formally aware of the land owner’s or indeed the city council’s (covert) process and intentions.

DCC Rates Book - 259 Malvern Street - Three Hills Limited

Ratepayer: Three Hills Limited

NZ Companies Register:
Incorporation Date: 23 Dec 2014
Company Status: Registered
Registered Office: 147b Redwood Valley Road, Rd 1, Richmond 7081
Address for service: 147b Redwood Valley Road, Rd 1, Richmond 7081

Directors (1 of 1):
John DUNCKLEY – 259 Malvern Street, Glenleith, Dunedin 9010

Total Number of Shares: 100
Shareholders in Allocation:
Allocation 1: 100 shares (100.00%)
John DUNCKLEY – 259 Malvern Street, Glenleith, Dunedin 9010
Ellen Jane DUNCKLEY – 259 Malvern Street, Glenleith, Dunedin 9010
Stuart James MCLAUCHLAN – 3 Walsh Lane, Maori Hill, Dunedin 9010

Subject Site at Leith Valley [screenshot]
DCC Compare Existing and Second Generation District Plans [259 Malvern Street + ULCA24]

█ For interactive comparative maps, go to District Plan Maps

Definition (Dunedin City District Plan):
Urban Landscape Conservation Areas – means those areas addressed in the Townscape Section and identified on the District Plan Maps which provide a landscape setting for the urban areas.

Dunedin City District Plan Volume 1
District Plan – Section 3: Definitions
District Plan – Section 13: Townscape

Dunedin City District Plan 13.8 ULCA

Source: Townscape, page 13:47 [screenshot]

█ The 2GP appears to reduce Dunedin City’s biodiversity in residential areas due to Dunedin City Council’s unconstrained support for private speculator/developers to subdivide property holdings and intensify/densify construction, resulting in the removal of existing ULCAs from significant and potentially regenerative conservational environments.

DCC on Natural Environment and Biodiversity
– in reference to the proposed second generation district plan (2GP)

Review of Urban Landscape Conservation Areas
A review of Urban Landscape Conservation Areas (ULCA) has determined that it has been applied in most cases to public reserves. A large number of these reserves are sports grounds with limited vegetation cover and do not meet the intent of a ULCA. Instead the ULCA Zone has functioned as a default reserves zone. The preferred approach in the new Plan [2GP] is to zone large reserves as part of a new Recreation Zone which will better recognise the values of reserves (refer to Q&A: Community and Recreation Activities). This will reduce the need to include such areas as a ULCA.

The approach to be taken with reserves in the 2GP provides an opportunity to reconsider the remaining ULCA areas and whether there are alternative approaches. Some large reserves, such as the Dunedin Town Belt contain extensive areas of vegetative cover that play a significant role in providing corridors for biodiversity and these values need to be recognised with a method that manages biodiversity. The ULCA also includes areas of private land, generally the vegetated steep sides of valleys or gullies, such as the Leith Valley, that provide biodiversity corridors. It is proposed to recognise their values in any method that manages biodiversity.
DCC Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

18 responses to “DCC: Non-notified resource consent Leith Valley 19-lot subdivision #ULCA

  1. Diane Yeldon

    This question of whether certain planning applications should be publicly notified or not is a hot potato for all councils, who are under central government pressure to ‘streamline’ processes and ‘expedite’ applications. We even get the term ‘fast-tracking’ used, generally in cases where the government doesn’t want the bother of having its own laws applied to itself.

    What are the actual words in the RMA? That the effects must be of ‘more than minor significance’ before public notification is required, I think. The law is at fault here – too vague and open to widely divergent interpretations. I really can’t see what harm it would do to publicly notify all non-complying applications. They are public information anyway. (And could be requested from the DCC and posted here from time to time – I know of other activist groups who have done similar. It’s a good way of continually publicly scrutinising the standards of non-notification.)

    The real point at issue is the right of other people to make submissions. If the proposed use is not a permitted one, I can’t see why submissions from anyone living or owning property in the city should be disallowed. If they had a right to contribute to the formation of the District Plan, then you would think that they also have a right to be involved in its being correctly, fairly and non-cynically upheld. But, more and more, you have to prove you are ‘directly affected’, by living next door, for example. And the public interest can fend for itself. Activist groups, too, have to wary of massive court costs. So we are all being trained to ‘mind our own business’, to not be involved, when democracy simply doesn’t work without widespread public involvement.

    Yes, allowing many people the right to be involved can be a ponderous process but that’s only because democracy, itself, starts to get very clunky when the number of people self-governed under it gets too big. Which is a good argument for cities themselves (or territorial jurisdictions) not being made too big in the first place. A group of people has a chance of co-operating effectively and harmoniously to benefit and protect what they all see as their own home. As opposed to those who wreck places and then take the money and run. (Tough for them that there’s now few places left that someone just like them hasn’t also already wrecked.)

    Funny the fact that the same names keep cropping up in relation to DCC matters, especially those concerned with making and keeping track of money. But I suppose it’s understandable in a small city. I just hope the people involved take care to keep private business considerations (whether their own or those of friends and business associates) completely separate from any DCC governance and regulatory roles or responsibilities.

  2. E Palmer

    There goes that McLauchlan name again. Is it just me or are others seeing it crop up often when there’s a pretty penny to be made in this town? Doors seem to open wide and gaining consents never appears to be a difficulty.

    I’m new to this city and can see that it’s just the right size for a few to control. It’s not rocket science to see what’s going on here – the same names seem to be behind a lot of the most ‘questionable’ developments in Dunedin. Money makes money and it’s not what you know, but who you know!

    • Diane Yeldon

      Hence the spectre of the ‘Tartan Mafia’, where a lot of these generally privileged locals (boys, of course!) went to the same elite schools, then studied at Otago University (often commerce, finance and law) and, of course, played rugby and other sport together. It’s actually the way of the world in microcosm, with Dunedin having been virtually a private fiefdom, the demarcation line being ‘south of the Waitaki'(!). The only trouble is it’s a very foolish parasite which kills its own host – and, here, in what is overall a relatively poor city, when the process has gone so far that there’s virtually nothing left to pillage, it’s become painfully obvious what has been done and how. Perhaps one day, it might even become clear by whom.
      If you think the incestuous financial network is interesting, have a look at who is on the various charitable trusts.

  3. Calvin Oaten

    Diane, you talk of ‘the spectre of the Tartan Mafia’, then you could extrapolate that to include the Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU). As mentioned, Mr Dunckley was the valuer who placed a figure of $225 million on the FB Stadium. It was he also who arrived at the figure of $7.5m for Carisbrook, the sum paid by the DCC to purchase from the ORFU, leaving it essentially debt free. I think also he valued the separate Burns St houses portion which were quickly on sold to another party. It would be churlish also, to mention the DCC forgiving the ORFU unpaid debts of some $500,000 to $700,000 by assuming those debts at ratepayers’ expense. This latest could be deemed as “calling in the favours”. The fact that the DCC on sold Carisbrook for just $3.6m is lost sight of. To suggest that the DCC might have deviated from council ULCA portions of its District Plan is not drawing too long a bow. Further, to suggest corruption seems not unreasonable.

  4. Peter

    Tartan Mafia motto. Ask not what you can do for your city, but what you can do for yourself.

  5. Grace

    You only have to go over the Hill to Mosgiel to see the links between non-notified consents and friends and relations in city hall.

  6. Anonymous

    The mistake that those in the current executive and council in DCC are making is in thinking that they are the ones who run the city.

  7. Ian

    It also helps if you employ a consultant, that also has a part time job as a hearings commissioner.

  8. Elizabeth

    Received from City Planning this afternoon:

    █ Download: LUC-2014-631_259 Malvern St [Non-notified Resource Consent Decision 27.1.15] (DOC, 2 MB)

    John Dunckley site plan from Decision [screenshot – click to enlarge]
    John Dunckley - 19-lot Site Plan (from Decision)

  9. jeff dickie

    I can confirm that stadium valuer John Dunckley did in fact object to the subdivision of his neighbour’s property. This delayed the Walker Farm subdivision by a couple of years. This makes the “non notified consent” even more extraordinary. Also there appears to be a major concern from the Dunckley subdivision neighbours regarding unsatisfactory stormwater provisions for these 19 new sections. It is likely DCC ratepayers will, when these problems appear in future heavy rain, inherit the liability just as is happening with the current DCC offer to buy out the Peninsula property compromised by poor DCC planning. If DCC CEO Bidrose had any intention at all of carrying out her assurances offered recently on National Radio, to clean out corruption and have accountability, this would be a very good place to start! But don’t hold your breath.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Jeff – the neighbours had better approach DCC / City Planning pronto with their concerns. DO NOT LEAVE IT.

    • Elizabeth

      An older comment:

      Submitted on 2013/02/17 at 9:39 pm

      John Dunkley is the brother of Nick Dunkley, who was the former chief surveyor for City Property, the DCC department being since sold. John is also a former business partner of Ah-Lek Tay, who was involved in valuation work surrounding the stadium land purchases. Small town.

  10. Brian Miller

    Out in Mosgiel. The residential subdivisions have to be provided for excess stormwater run off by building large ponding areas on site to hold excess water (unless you are lucky, and the council put in over size pipes to hold excess stormwater) and release it only when the stormwater channels can safely take any extra with out causing flooding. This appears to be an ORC requirement. Why hasn’t this been an ORC requirement at both the Malvern St and the Peninsula consent sites ?

  11. Elizabeth

    DCC – Updated information | Non-notified Consent Decisions
    259 Malvern Street, Dunedin (SUB-2011-25 and LUC-2011-100)

    This consent was an application to/for SUB-2011-25 and LUC-2011-100 – Decision (PDF, 326.3 KB), and SUB-2011-25A and LUC-2011-100A- Decision and plans (PDF, 320.1 KB) at 259 Malvern Street, Dunedin.

    This was considered by the Council’s Senior Planner (Consents) on 18 May 2015.

    Link: http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/services/planning/browse-non-notified-decisions

  12. Elizabeth

    ODT 5.3.16 (page 30)

    ODT 5.3.16 Letter to editor Shelton p30


    Hope M. Shelton has made a submission on the Proposed 2GP; and co-jointly engaged an RMA specialist and or lawyer to represent affected residents for an action. Don’t wait until the rain – look what happened at 240 Portobello Road.

  13. Elizabeth

    My God, Mr Dunckley sounds like a Dunedin Stadium Meister. Farry-like, even. Wait ?!?! …..didn’t Mr D have something to do with valuing the land acquired for the Stadium white elephant. Ahhhhhhh

    Wed, 30 Mar 2016
    ODT: Developer rejects subdivision criticism
    Some Leith Valley residents are upset a residential subdivision in a quiet, semi-rural street has got the go-ahead without neighbours being consulted. Three Hills, a 19-lot residential subdivision in Malvern St, is being developed with the hope the first houses might be built by the end of the year.

  14. Calvin Oaten

    Not only did Mr D have an input into the Stadium land valuations but he it was who came up with the value of $11.5m for the ORFU’s Carisbrook and housing assets. It was this that Jim Harland used as the reason the DCC should by purchase those assets to ensure that the ORFU would/could be a viable tenant of the new Stadium. The fact that Carisbrook was on sold for around $3.5m is a mere bagatelle. Yes, Mr D certainly had an opportunity to call in the favours. Is that corruption, or just normal business?

    • Elizabeth

      Calvin, it seems transparently clear he didn’t engage with all potentially affected property owners surrounding or downstream of Three Hills, his 19-lot residential subdivision in Malvern St. The Council is supposed to look out for The People’s private property rights (no guffawing in the backseat). If Mr McK jibs at that sentiment of mine, then tough. Please would he read my rights and consolidate his thoughts about freedom of political expression. Whatever. I see the video clip is still playing at YT so I guess there was not a complete snow job done. Tsk.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s