Canterbury subdivision causes rift between residents developer

More prime cropping land is under threat in Canterbury as Lincoln residents are upset their concerns have gone unheard as a developer eyes up a slice of their paradise. 

An independent commissioner has given a draft recommendation to Selwyn District Council to go ahead and nearly double the town. 

Senior soil science tutor Roger McLenaghen told Newshub that the soil is versatile and fertile.

"You can grow lots of different things here so you could use them for cropping, market gardening, pasture grazing animals." 

Market gardener Sam Bridgeman-Smith grows salad greens in Lincoln. 

"They grow beautifully." 

But the land could soon be a growing community with plans for nearly 2000 more homes. 

The independent commissioner has handed Selwyn District Council a draft recommendation to go ahead with a new subdivision. 

Developers, The Carter Group wants to rezone just under 200 hectares of rural land in Lincoln to residential land, nearly doubling the homes there already. 

"I'd be really gutted because I love my job and I can't just uproot and grow on other land," Bridgman-Smith said. 

But it's not just the loss of ground causing concern. 

"This is not a community that's against growth, the concern is that this is unplanned growth," resident Sam Elder said. 

More than 200 submissions were made on the plan change, showing very few are in favour. 

"You can't overstate the disappointment, the slap in the face that this commissioner's recommendation is to the people who have taken the time to engage in the process," said Elder. 

Lincoln isn't the area in New Zealand where productive land is being decommissioned by housing. Soon the semi-rural land in Drury will become a 330-hectare satellite city. 

The decision to prioritise construction over crops was made even more controversial by an impending food shortage. 

"We need to produce food, we've already got the situation where we've got a grain shortage because of the Ukraine war," said McLenaghen. 

So whether it's homes or harvest that grows in the future, that will all depend on the commissioner's formal recommendation.