Community . . . McBrimar Homes marketing manager Kristina Levings, and managing director Mike Lowe with their children Maggie (6 months) and Austin (2), in front of some of the completed homes at the new subdivision. The rest of the team behind the subdivision — Mike’s father Brian Lowe, and family friends Grant and Vikki Purvis — were unavailable for the photo. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Progress is clearly being made on Holmes Hill Estate, on Oamaru’s southern border — but work has been going on behind the scenes long before now.

Building on the subdivision is being carried out by McBrimar Homes in three stages. Seventeen homes in stage one were completed and occupied, with the remaining seven under construction, managing director Mike Lowe said.

Building along the newly formed Clydesdale Dr, connecting Glendale Cres with State Highway 1 (Wansbeck St), began in January last year, but many had been unaware it was happening.

‘‘A lot of people think it’s just getting started,’’ Mr Lowe said.

The subdivision of the former Awamoa farmland had been carried out by a group which included Mr Lowe, his partner, Kristina Levings, his father, Brian Lowe, and family friends Grant and Vikki Purvis. The same team were behind the Waiareka Park subdivision off Weston Rd.

An 8.4ha section was purchased in June 2018, and subdivision works began in April 2019.
Right in the thick of a global pandemic was not an ideal time to start building on a subdivision, Mr Lowe said, and it meant McBrimar had to be ‘‘way more organised and pro-active’’.

‘‘Supply chain has been a real issue,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s definitely increased the length of time it takes to build a house. It hasn’t got out of control, but . . . timeframes are definitely more than they would have been in the past.

‘‘We’re still getting materials, you’ve just got to spend a lot of time preordering and chasing things that you didn’t used to have to do.

‘‘We’re lucky we’ve got a really good project management team who sorts that.’’

It was estimated the 58 homes planned for the three stages would be complete by the end of next year, with further stages in the years to come.

‘‘I think it’s really cool to see it now that you drive through stage one, and there’s lots of completed houses,’’ Mr Lowe said.

It was hard to imagine the development was ‘‘just a paddock’’ a couple of years ago.

‘‘I think the whole team has done an amazing job across the board on this development. It’s awesome to see all the finished houses and the community that is starting to form, with the residents all taking a keen interest in their new neighbours’ homes.’’

McBrimar Homes employed 30 staff, as well as local sub-contractors. Oamaru landscaping company Hardscapes had been brought on board in an effort to have sections landscaped before residents moved in.

‘‘So it’s really looking quite good now that there’s completed homes all there, right through to lawns and plantings and everything done.’’

A second new road, Royal Oak Cr, connected to Clydesdale Dr, and stages two and three were based around there. The names were chosen as a nod to the land’s history, Mr Lowe said.

Progress . . . A drone shot of the Holmes Hill Estate subdivision. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The Awamoa farm was a 1600ha estate, where Irish-born runholder Matthew Holmes and his family lived in the late 1800s. The Manor Estate in Perth St, at the time called Awamoa House, then more recently The Homestead, had been the Holmes family’s private residence.

‘‘The land Holmes Hill Estate encompasses once housed a stable and yards, so we thought it would be fitting to research this part of the history to find our new street names.’’

Holmes was mainly remembered as an importer and breeder of pedigree stock, long-woolled sheep and Clydesdale horses in particular. Royal Oak was the name of one of the first sires imported for his Clydesdale stud.

All except one of the 13 lots in stage two had been sold, and some of the 20 lots in stage three.

Public response to the house and land packages had been ‘‘pretty positive’’ and demand had stayed constant, he said.

Oamaru was still a popular place to move to, and in terms of what was selling on the property market, ‘‘new builds as packages’’ remained good value. House designs could start from one of the company’s standard plans, or be completely custom designed, ‘‘and anything in between’’, he said.