05 Mar 2013

High-rise plans worry councillor

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Written by: Liz Willis
Published: Auckland Now / North Shore Times – 05 March 2013

Councillor George Wood fears how much fight people have left in them to stop Auckland Council’s dramatic intensification plans.

Apartment heights in Browns Bay and Milford are particularly concerning but other areas will also be affected by the Unitary Plan, Mr Wood says.

Developers will seek to maximise their returns and Auckland city has already suffered the “abominable” results of poorly designed apartments.

“We don’t want to see that mirrored in areas of the North Shore.

“People must mobilise and put their views forward during consultation,” he says.

The draft Unitary Plan is publicly released on March 15 and until then the public can only view a short promotional video on the council’s website.

Media are being drip fed basic information on request. The North Shore Times has also obtained briefing information provided to local boards at confidential workshops.

Metropolitan centres, like Albany and Takapuna, and town centres, like Milford, Browns Bay, Highbury, Glenfield and Northcote would have the highest apartments.

Massive changes are also proposed in mixed housing zones on the outskirts of shopping centres and near public transport routes.

Mixed housing zones would allow one to four dwellings without a resource consent on 300 square metre sites, subject to certain criteria.

Four storey terraced housing and apartment buildings are proposed next to most shopping centres and up to six storeys in metropolitan centres.

Mr Wood says he’s been in the dark as much as the public over many issues because he wasn’t part of council’s political working party for the plan.

During early Auckland Council talks last month Mr Wood spoke out against apartment heights in Milford and Browns Bay.

He says previous Milford consents kept heights at two to three storeys but the draft plan proposes four to eight.

Browns Bay residents have also fought to limit apartment heights with people living further back from the beachfront concerned about the loss of views.

“It seems to be a continuing saga of this type of event where they have to keep fight to preserve their community,” Mr Wood says.

“I wonder how much fight is left in some people to try to prevent these major changes.”

Traffic increases and shading will be key concerns for residents, he says.



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