Land deal could ease parking concerns

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Car parking concerns surrounding the proposed Stoke Community Centre could be eased if a deal to buy land from the neighbouring St Barnabas Church goes ahead.

St Barnabas vicar Philip Greenwood confirmed to Nelson Weekly that the church has been in negotiations with Nelson City Council to sell a house owned by the Nelson Anglican Diocese and managed by St Barnabas.

The house sits between the church and the Stoke tennis courts on Main Rd Stoke.

It is understood the price for the house and land is between $300,000 to $400,000, but this has not been confirmed and the council refused to discuss the deal. “We aren’t available to comment as this matter is in ‘public excluded,’’” read a statement from the council.

Councillors approached for comment also said they could not speak about the proposed purchase.

Philip says negotiations have been ongoing for more than a year.

“It’s been a long process, but we had a special meeting last Thursday and the motion passed really, really well. So everyone is really positive about it.”

He says the deal still has two big steps to go through however, as the land is actually owned by the Nelson Anglican Diocese, not the church itself. The trust board that controls all of the land owned by the diocese needs to approve the sale.

If the sale goes ahead, it would give the council more space for possible car parking or a reshuffle of the tennis courts, as the lack of car parking has been identified as an issue during the consent process of the proposed Stoke Community Centre.

But those opposing the cost of the centre, including members of the Nelson Residents Association, say the land deal just adds to the escalating costs of the centre, which started out at $5.6 million but is now budgeted for $6.14 million.

Consent for the centre was granted last month, despite some restrictions around the number of people who can use it on a Saturday due to a lack of car parks.