A proposed $200m equestrian centre in Canterbury is working through the consent process, after its first attempt was handed back.

Southern Parallel Equine Centre plans to establish a farming business encompassing a world-class equine centre on 65ha of land next to Lake Hood, near Ashburton.

The proposed centre would include stables, training arenas and a veterinary clinic.

Resource consent applications were submitted to the Ashburton District Council and Environment Canterbury (ECan) in November.

An independent commissioner was appointed to consider the Ashburton District Council application and deemed the consent would have limited notification on January 11.

That meant only those identified as being adversely affected — seven properties — could lodge a submission.

The site’s land owners, Graeme and Elizabeth Small, have already submitted written approval as part of the application.

Submissions close on February 9 and any submissions received will be reviewed and, if required, a hearing will be arranged.

Southern Equine project director Catherine Stuart has declined to comment on the active consent process.

The consents lodged with ECan were considered insufficient and returned on December 8, with a new application lodged on December 27.

ECan consent planning manager Aurora Grant said the application had been accepted for processing last week.

“We are currently auditing the proposal and undertaking technical reviews of the documentation provided.

“These assessments will inform whether the proposal will be publicly notified or only affected persons notified, or whether we can make a decision on a non-notified basis.”

Consent is being sought to establish an equine stud with associated facilities, including a selling centre, veterinary clinic, stabling (six stable blocks of 100 stables per block), grazing pasture, training arenas and parking.

It was hoped the consent process could be completed in early 2024 to allow construction to start later in the year, for a planned opening in the second half of 2025.

Stage two is to develop the SPC Life Skills and Education Centre for physically disabled veterans, service personnel, and para-athletes.

The foundation of the project is planned to be completed on a separate site by mid-2026 and will be subject to a separate consent process.

By Jonathan Leask, Local Democracy Reporter

Local Democracy Reporting is local body journalism co-funded by NZ On Air and RNZ

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