After being rejected by the local council in 2019, the long awaited Hogans Gully Golf Resort project has finally received planning approval thanks to a decision last week in the New Zealand Environmental Court.
To be developed by local tourism identity Sir John Davies, the Hogans Gully project includes an 18-hole signature design golf course by Kiwi professional Greg Turner, as well as a practice facility, 60 residential sections and 16 short-term visitor accommodation units. The original development proposal had sought a higher density residential component, with 96 home sites proposed.
Situated within a few hundred metres of both the Arrowtown Golf Club and the par three Farm course at The Hills Golf Club, the land for golf at Hogans Gully has been described by Greg Turner as, “dramatic and, in places, more rugged than its golf course neighbours.”
In a previous planning submission to Queenstown Council Turner added that the site, “with its rustic heart, existing dramatic folds in the terrain and rugged rocky outcrops suggests golf should be revealed rather than imposed. The nature of the landscape calls for a less manicured presentation leading to a course aesthetic that is authentic to its Central Otago human and geological history.”
With the New Zealand Open currently domiciled in the Queenstown region, there is a good chance that Hogans Gully will eventually form part of the tournament rota, and certainly that it will help attract more international golfers to Central Otago.
Construction is expected to begin sometime next year.
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An Environment Court judge this week approved two major golf resort zones near Arrowtown.
Judge John Hassan has allowed local tourism magnate Sir John Davies’ family to develop their proposed Hogans Gully golf resort, which the Queenstown Lakes District Council originally refused to rezone.
Along with an 18-hole championship golf course designed by former professional Greg Turner, of Arrowtown, and other amenities, there is provision for 60 residential and 16 visitor accommodation units.
Sir John’s son Mike, who is spearheading the Hogans Gully project, said "it’s been a five-year exercise, and we’re pretty excited where we’ve ended up".
"There were speed humps along the way, where we could have pulled pin, but at the end of the day, grit and determination got us there."
Through mediation, he said both his and the council’s sides made concessions — they had originally proposed 91 accommodation units, for example.
"It’s a win-win for both of us.”
High-spending golfers were the kind of visitors Queenstown and Wanaka wanted, "rather than mass tourism", he said.
"In Covid times, we’ve had two rough years in Queenstown ... this will take four or five years to develop, it’s good for the area."
He said he would know when work would start by early next year.
As part of the consent, the developer had agreed, in consultation with the Queenstown Trails Trust, to put a walking/cycling trail around the resort.
Judge Hassan’s court order noted buildings would be put in the upper terraces of the site, which were not visible from State Highway 6, Hogans Gully Rd or McDonnell Rd.
Baxter Design Group owner Paddy Baxter, a local, who masterplanned the resort said "the fundamental, underlying principle was the protection of the rural values".
He said features of the design setting it apart from other golf course resorts were 43ha of ecological revegetation, and low building heights.
The clubhouse, designed by Auckland architect Andrew Patterson, who also designed The Hills’ clubhouse, resembles a low farm wall.
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