17 Feb 2017

Disappointment For Thousands Of Auckland Homeowners

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Today’s decision by the High Court in Auckland to disallow the Character Coalition’s appeal against parts of the Unitary plan means thousands of homeowners have been denied a say in what happens to the streets they live in.

Character Coalition chairperson Sally Hughes said ” While we accept the Judge’s decision, we are very disappointed with the outcome.  We do not feel that the 29,000 homeowners, on whose behalf we made the appeal, have had an opportunity to be heard.”

“It will now be death by a thousand cuts as developers move in over time, and destroy the character of some of Auckland’s most beautiful streets.

Already historic villas in Onehunga in streets zoned THAB are being removed for intensive development and properties for sale are being advertised as development sites.”

The Court’s decision means that the last minute move by the Auckland Council to change the zoning of many streets that were single house zones in the unitary plan to multi level dwellings will now stand.

“The fact that these zone changes were done at the 11th hour and most of the 29,000 homeowners had no idea they were happening and had no opportunity to raise their concerns is appalling. It may have been legal but, in our view, it was morally wrong. “

“We believe the Council reacted to the massive pressure it was under from the development lobby and denied 29,000 ratepayers any form of natural justice. ” said Hughes

The Character Coalition rejected claims that the rezoning was required to solve Auckland’s housing crisis.

“The land in many of these streets is so valuable that what we are now seeing is wealthy people buy old villas and demolish them and build bigger houses – but many of these new houses are not in character with the area and still do nothing to solve the housing crisis.”

“Shortage of builders, cost of materials, consent delays and financing issues are all currently bigger problems than the zoning of streets which give Auckland its unique character .” said Hughes.

The Character Coalition said it will now look for other ways to strengthen Auckland’s heritage.

“ We have no intention of giving up on Auckland’s heritage and character. We hope more people who care about the beauty of Auckland will join us to carry on the fight” said Hughes.

For further information contact:

Sally Hughes
027 284 3344