A tourist visiting Whanganui's Durie Hill says it would be "absolutely mad" to allow building on vacant land near the lookout over the city.
Whanganui District Council has just opened public consultation on whether it should buy two plots of land on Blyth St to protect the views as well as the general sense of openness in the Durie Hill Reserve area.
It owns the land in Blyth Street that surrounds and services the Durie Hill Elevator upper entrance and the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower but not numbers 3 and 9, next to the war memorial tower.
Les Roberts, who was visiting Whanganui from Martinborough, said it should be public space.
"The council needs to buy it and put a couple of park benches in there so people can sit and look out over the city," Roberts said.
"This whole area is pretty historic, and putting a house right there is mad, absolutely mad.
"It's like putting a fence up around Mt Victoria in Wellington, and when you go up there to look out across the city, all you can see is a fence."
Property Brokers Real Estate Agent Kayana Tahana-Hopkins, who is overseeing the sale of 3 Blyth St, said, due to "a lack of land in Whanganui", there had been interest in the land.
It is advertised for offers over $279,000.
"It is very unique, and obviously people are going to be attracted to the views," Tahana-Hopkins said.
"I would think it's definitely more suited to the council though.
"We've had a vast variety (of ideas) thrown out there, from tiny homes to Air B'n'bs to downsizing, retirement type things, and on the flip side, there's a contemporary build with levels and everything like that.
"There's nothing on paper yet."
Durie St resident Geoff Jamieson didn't think the council should buy the plots.
"I don't think anything that was built on there would obstruct the view, because you can only build a house a certain height," Jamieson said.
"The main piece of land that's for sale, right next to the tower, has nothing in front of it, so the view won't be affected, and the land across the road that's also for sale is slightly elevated compared to that one, so there's going to be no problem with any views getting blocked out there either.
"If it's private land, then sell it, but no, I don't think the council should buy it."
Trudy Reeves, who owns a property directly across the road from the tower itself, said that while a new house wouldn't affect the view "too much", she would prefer for the council to purchase the land.
"It (the tower) is such an important monument for Whanganui, especially with the memorial for the (first world) war," Reeves said.
"It's something the council should do, and I'd much rather they do that than put a lid on a cycledrome.
"Something like this could be used for everyone, and I think the return on investment would be huge.
"I see it as land that should be kept for generations to come."
Lee Kelliher, who was visiting Whanganui with her husband John, said the "whole area" was worth preserving and that the council should definitely buy it.
"We came up here specifically, and we'd be horrified to find a whole lot of domestic developments right next to the tower," Kelliher said
"I think the current residences are close enough, to be honest, and this whole place is a memorial, isn't it?
"How would the RSA feel about having a whole lot of BnBs around it? That's just a thought."
Council currently owns the land in Blyth St which surrounds and services the Durie Hill
Elevator upper entrance and the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower. This reserve land is
adjacent to, and opposite, 9 Blyth St.
Council Senior Policy Analyst Justin Walters said the council was consulting on three options.
"Those are the purchase of both properties, the purchase of 9 Blyth St only or the status quo – no further land purchase," Walters said.
All consultation information, and an online submission form, can be found at:
Emails can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and physical submission forms can be given to Council Customer Services at 101 Guyton Street.
Hard copies of the consultation document and submission form are available from Council Customer Services, the Davis Library and Gonville Library.