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Council sets Britomart precinct development rules

Council sets rules for development of Britomart precinct

The Auckland City Council has approved a master plan to develop buildings around the Britomart Project, while at the same time sending potential developers a clear message to work within new urban design guidelines.

The council last night (Thursday 12 Sept) approved a plan which will revitalise the Britomart precinct, preserving heritage buildings and continuing the success of the “look and feel” of the Viaduct Harbour.

However, while giving the green light for disposal of some buildings and development of sites above the station, the council will initiate a change to its central area district plan to guarantee orderly development of the area.

Changes will be needed to the Central Area District Plan to introduce new urban design guidelines and planning controls and to ensure subsequent development meets the council’s objectives for the precinct, including the retention of heritage buildings.

Developers have been told that requests for proposals for property disposal and development of the precinct must “reflect the master plan, urban design principles and precinct controls.”

The council has recommended that a proposed Plan Change and variation incorporating the precinct planning controls be reported to the City Development Committee and released for public submissions. Key elements of the Britomart Precinct development include:

Retaining 18 heritage buildings in Customs and Quay streets, with conservation plans to ensure the buildings are restored Development restricted to eight storeys above the station, with 12 storeys at the eastern (Britomart Place) end of the precinct in keeping with the scale of the existing heritage buildings A central walking lane (Ta Huhu walking street) on a similar scale to High St/Vulcan Lane A small urban square, similar in scale to Freyberg Square in the High St precinct, and Appropriate off-street parking for business, residents and visitors

Ta Huhu walking street will provide a mix of activity with retail and restaurants complementing the surrounding residential and commercial uses. The urban square will provide a sunny, sheltered public space.

Cr Douglas Armstrong, the chairman of the Finance and Corporate Development committee of the council, which oversees the Britomart Project development, says the council needs to “draw a line in the sand” over development of the area.

“While we obviously want to get the best price possible from development proposals, we also need to be mindful of the effect of development in the area,” says Cr Armstrong.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that any development of the Britomart Precinct satisfies the vision of the precinct demanded by the city during consultations and the design competition.

“The best way the council can guarantee that happens is to make sure any development proposal meets the objectives and strategy of the master plan for the area.”

A report to the council says there are numerous opportunities for the precinct, including residential and commercial development, including a link to the proposed Superdome.

The process for disposal of buildings and plans for development will include having the proposed plan change before the council’s city development committee next month and the plan changes notified and public submissions heard.

Then, a disposal of properties programme will be reported to the council’s Finance and Corporate Business committee and an evaluation panel and criteria for development be established before requests for proposals for the development are sought.

There will be a two-stage request for proposals process, with a decision on the developer and settlement made by July 2003.

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