The long running Fencegate saga appears to be nearing a conclusion with the Aitchisons (those whose view had been blocked by the structure) being awarded $72,500 in costs. In making this ruling Environment Court Judge Dwyer held that the action of the Walmsleys in erecting the structure and the presence of the structure were offensive or objectionable to such an extent as to have an adverse effect on the environment.
The Wellington City Council was also entitled to make an application for costs but chose not to pursue these on the basis that the District Plan rule clarifications are a matter of public interest.
While this is a significant award the court noted that the Aitchisons were seeking in excess of $100,000. This provides a reminder that litigation can be costly, even for successful parties and that where an issue arises it is worth considering other forms of dispute resolution.
CAMERON BURNELL/ FAIRFAX NZ