Haven Housing trustees (from left) Matt Marshall, Jackie Girvan and Walter van der Kley at the development site at Mona Square.

Affordable rental units for older persons will be built on a 3000m2 empty block of land at 16 Mona Square over the coming months and will help fill a gap in the Ashburton housing market.

Eight elderly persons housing units were demolished 12 months ago on the Ashburton District Council owned plot and local housing trust, Haven Housing, intends to build 17 modern units to replace them.

Haven Housing trustee Jackie Girvan said there continued to be a critical shortage of affordable rental accommodation for older people of modest means in Ashburton.

“The new housing site at Mona Square will be a vital asset for the Ashburton community for generations to come,” she said.

Haven Housing has secured a 50-year lease with council for a nominal peppercorn rent.

Rents charged for the units will be below market level and occupants will be means tested.

The project has resource consent and is currently awaiting the final stages of building consent.

The developer has the right to use five of the 17 one-bedroom units for couples.

Renderings were put up at the site last week to show the concept plans and the layout of the units, which will be arranged in blocks of two or three, with a central car park.

Funding has been secured to begin the project and more will be raised over the coming months.

Mrs Girvan said current estimates were that the project will cost $2.2million.

To date around $900,000 had been secured.

Around $1.5m in total is being sought from charitable sources and $700,000 via lending, she said.

Funding support is being sought from a range of community organisations, agencies and individuals.

There were opportunities for people to get involved with a range of naming rights and all donations, big and small, could help with the project, Mrs Girvan said.

It is hoped to clear and level the site by the middle of the year. Typically the build process will take 12 months, but covid restrictions and supply chain issues could impact it.

Anyone wanting to support the elderly persons project can email to

-By Mick Jensen