15 May 2013

Strong reaction prompts Auckland plan re-think

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By: ONE News reporter Nicole Bremner
Published: One News – tvnz.co.nz

Len Brown inspects a new housing development at Long Bay

Len Brown inspects a new housing development at Long Bay

A strong reaction from residents in Auckland’s coastal communities has forced mayor Len Brown to re-think the grand strategy for the city’s future development.

Brown has used a ceremony in Long Bay, where he turned the soil for a new housing project, to announce that four areas of the Unitary Plan, which has been two and a half years in development, will be reconsidered.

This includes possibly lowering the proposed height of new housing in coastal townships like Long Bay, Milford, Browns Bay and St Heliers which had been identified as areas for low to medium high rise buildings.

“It’s very clear in all the coastal townships, from all the meetings we have had there that (the height of new developments) has been by far the area where people have been most animated,” Brown said.

“We’ll look at how we can moderate the position we’re in.

“It’s a draft, draft plan and we always said we were going to engage with the community, reflect on that feedback and make changes where appropriate.”

The other areas which Brown said would be looked at again are the transition between low and high rise homes in new developments and the impact of development on ecological valuable areas.

Brown said there had been “brilliant” response to the council’s draft plan which will eventually define how Auckland expands over the next 30 years as its population grows to an estimated 2.5 million people.

“In some of our communities there has been some robust debate, but in good parts in the rest of our community there have been reasonable levels of discussion and people have been pretty comfortable with the plan,” Brown said.

“We recognise that we need a more compact city because we can’t buy into the LA sprawl, and that we need some changes going forward to deal with the growth.”

The plan favours high density living – more houses on smaller parcels of land and apartments – with improved public transport linking Aucklanders to their region.

Brown today used a bobcat to break ground for the first home in the Long Bay project’s show home street.

The 162 hectare development, about a 30 minute drive north of Auckland’s CBD, will eventually house more than 2000 dwellings and be a community of more than 5,000 people.

“Long Bay is one of our region’s largest developments and is set to become a thriving community,” Brown said.

A public walkway, which will provide a link from the development down to the entrance bridge on Beach Road and eventually through to the Long Bay Regional Park, was also inspected today, and it is anticipated to be opened in the near future.

The event comes after Brown and the Housing Minister announced that they had reached an accord which they hope will see nearly 40,000 new houses built in Auckland over the next three years in response to the region’s serious housing shortage.

They have set a target of 9,000 additional residential houses being consented for in the first year, 13,000 in second year, and 17,000 in the third year to meet the pace of growth.

Todd Property Group Development Manager Steve Martin says “Auckland is crying out for housing”.

“Long Bay is a development that would benefit from being included as a Special Housing Area as proposed by the Accord. It would mean the development would be consented in a faster timeframe and we could to build more houses more quickly,” he said.

The first four section stages have sold out, and Todd Property will soon release three more stages for sale.

The first residents in Long Bay should be moving into their homes in time for Christmas, Martin said.

GJ Gardner North Shore owner Tony Houston said Long Bay is an attractive option for people wanting to live close to the city.


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