$500m Shelly Bay development clears significant hurdle in High Court

A judge has cleared an independent panel's handling of the $500 million Shelly Bay development.
Business association Enterprise Miramar Peninsula took the council and developer The Wellington Company to court asking for a judicial review of the handling of the controversial development.

It was challenging consent granted in October 2019 for the planned $500 million waterside development, which would include more than 350 dwellings and places to shop and eat.

Central to Enterprise Miramar's case was the argument that independent commissioners did not adequately factor in the narrow and winding road to the Miramar Peninsula site and its capacity to deal with the forecast increase in traffic.

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In a reserved finding, released on Wednesday from the High Court, the application for a judicial review was dismissed.

The decision noted that it could reasonably be concluded there would be sufficient and appropriate roading infrastructure to support the development.

The development by The Wellington Company, directed by developer Ian Cassels, has spent years stuck in arguments and legal wrangling over land deals, with some opponents complaining about preferential council treatment.

Ross Giblin/Stuff
Occupiers at Shelly Bay

Most-recently, a land occupation began at the site from members of Mau Whenua, a group of mostly-Taranaki Whnui who claim the Wellingotn iwi sold the bulk of the land there to Cassels without the mandate of its members.

They have pledged to stay there for years if necessary and Anaru Mepham, from Mau Whenua, on Wednesday confirmed the occupation was ongoing.

The council and Enterprise Miramar have been approached for comment.

The flag of the United Tribes above the old guards hut at the entrance to Shelly Bay, which has been occupied by Mau Whenua.

In November, Paul Radich, QC, on behalf of property developer The Wellington Company, agreed that the road was not ideal but argued that 90 per cent of Wellington's roads would fail the same test.

He specifically spoke of the Wellington south coast and the road to Eastbourne in Lower Hutt - both of which carried more traffic than what was expected on the road to Shelly Bay.

Various reports had been compiled that showed the road would be adequate. These had been supplied to the commissioners who granted resource consent, he said.

However, Enterprise Miramar lawyer Matthew Smith argued that traffic on the road to Shelly Bay would worsen. The group had evidence that the 2000 to 2500 vehicle movements a day were projected to rise to 6000 to 6500 a day, he said.

Smith said no traffic experts had told the panel that the effects would be no more than minor. If the experts did not reach that conclusion, the panel could not either.

It was the second time the group has challenged resource consent for the development. In 2018 it forced a reconsideration.


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