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Woodhill Sands Trust Newsletter - Update from Woodhill Sands to our Riding Community - Resource Consent Interim Decision released

Woodhill Sands Trust Newsletter - Update from Woodhill Sands to our Riding Community - Resource Consent Interim Decision released

Jenette Bell
/ Categories: News

Dear Riders and Supporters

We have recently received the long-awaited interim decision of the Environment Court in response to our application for a resource consent in relation to the ongoing activities at Woodhill Sands Equestrian Centre.  As an important part of our riding community, I wanted to provide you with a timely update.

I am afraid that, put bluntly, whilst consent has been granted, the terms are not compatible with the facility continuing to operate as an equestrian facility at its current level.  We are urgently considering our options (including consulting with other parties to this decision, being the neighbours and Auckland Council) and will do all we can to find a solution.  However, if a solution or compromise cannot be found, then we will need to consider other options (which may need to include closure and sale of the facility). 

·         The terms of the interim decision on the resource consent effectively limit competition activities to 20 weekends per year (with additional restrictions on maximum horses (245), people (300) and vehicles (50 overnight) permitted onsite), plus 2 "larger" events per year.

·         Other than that, only non-competitive "general equestrian activities" are permitted (pony club, adult ride, lesson clinics, practice days). 

·         There are additional requirements relating to traffic management and the containment of horses in yards at all times, as well as large capital work requirements which will impose significant additional costs on Woodhill Sands.

·         This means that we would need to prioritise larger profitable competitions within that 40-day period, however, we do not believe that the income generated by these shows would be sufficient to give us certainty that we would be able to meet our financial obligations, even with a substantial increase in fees.

This places us in an unenviable position of needing to consider, as a matter of urgency what our options are.  As mentioned above, we will commence discussions with the neighbours and with Auckland Council as soon as possible.

We will ensure that events continue to be held until the end of March. The situation over the next few weeks will move quite quickly and we will keep you in the loop as we move towards receiving a final decision from the court and its flow on effects.


Kind regards

Philippa Fourie

Chair, Woodhill Sands Trust


The full Interim Decision of the Environment Court can be viewed here  or you can download the document here.


We have received many questions as a result of this information and have put together some Frequently Asked Questions and further background information below:

Is this a call to action?

No. The reason we are sharing this with you is that the Interim Decision is now public and we wanted to make sure our community understood it. Right now we are working collaboratively with other parties and we want you to give us time to work through that process.

What is the resource consent application about?

The resource consent is to secure the ability to conduct equestrian activities at the James Mackie Road property.

What is the role of the Environment Court in this process?

The Environment Court hear our resource consent application in much the same way as a Council Commissioner panel would have, although with a higher degree of scrutiny.

What is the role of the Council in this process?

Councils’ role was to make a recommendation to the Environment Court as to whether or not they believe the application should be approved or declined. In our case Council recommends that the application be approved.

What are the next steps in the process?

We need to provide the Court with a redrafted set of conditions. We will redraft those conditions in collaboration with neighbours and Council. As part of this process it is our desire to make some trade-offs in order to secure more operating days.

Did Council do this?

No. Council did not hear our resource consent application as they agreed that it should be referred direct to the Environment Court for the hearing as it was a contested consent application.  Council agreed with us that consent could be granted with sufficient conditions to manage impacts on neighbours.

Why did this have to go to the Environment Court and why couldn’t it just have a Council hearing.

Our application did not secure neighbour approvals and Council indicated it was likely to be appealed to the Environment Court if we opted for the /council consent pathway. The Trust determined that the cost of doing both the Council and the Environment Court process was too much, and we chose to bypass the council pathway.

How can I stay informed about the progress of the application?

Make sure you are signed up to our newsletter as we will provide regular updates through that channel.



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