09 Apr 2013

City plan ignores design issues, say retail giants

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Written by: Anne Gibson
Photo by: Brett Phibbs
Published: The New Zealand Herald – 09 April 2013
20130409 City plan ignores design issues, say retail giantsSix major retailers are decrying the unitary plan, accusing Auckland Council of trying to design shops and force everyone on to public transport.

David Boersen of Bunnings, David Drew of Westfield, Adrian Walker of Progressive Enterprises, Angela Bull of Foodstuffs (Auckland), Fiona Shilton of The Warehouse Group and David Cosgrove of AMP Capital told the council’s central area planning manager John Duguid they were disappointed with the plan, particularly after actively engaging in the process by attending a workshop, meetings and talking about urban design issues.

“The draft urban design provisions fail to provide for the realities and practicalities of designing and operating large-format retail malls and supermarkets. The group is also concerned about the unprecedented level of control the council is seeking to impose on the design of virtually any new built form,” they wrote to Duguid.

“The proposed transportation/parking provisions continue to over-emphasise public transport at the expense of private vehicle movements which will remain Aucklanders’ preferred mode of transport for retail activities, no [matter] how much the council would like it to be otherwise.

“The draft provisions also focus on entirely hiding carparking from view which is completely impractical for retail activities which rely on visible parking to attract enough customers to remain viable,” the group wrote in an April 3 letter, previewing an April 5 meeting.

But Duguid said matters had been discussed and issues hammered out.

“In terms of the retailers, the letter doesn’t reflect the fact that we consulted with them on a number of occasions during the preparation of the draft Auckland Unitary Plan and had taken on board some of their concerns,” Duguid said.

“Moving on from that, we had a very productive meeting with them on Friday and are looking to meet with them again prior to the feedback period on the draft AUP closing,” he said.

The group said they did not feel listened to and issues it raised “have been ignored or have not been addressed in the draft plan, despite the considerable time and effort spent”.

“The fact that the council does not appear to have properly considered the group’s suggestions or taken on board most of the feedback that has been provided to it will be raised by the group’s members in their upcoming submissions to the Environment and Local Government Select Committee,” they wrote.


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