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Urban housing development receives go-ahead

3 September 2004

Biggest urban housing development receives

Environment Court go-ahead

Detailed planning for New Zealand’s biggest private urban housing development can now begin following a decision by the Environment Court.

Up to 3000 homes for 8000 people are likely to extend over 110 hectares of land bordering St John’s between Remuera Golf Course and the University of Auckland Tamaki Campus. It represents the largest remaining brownfield site in Auckland City’s isthmus.

The Environment Court decision also allows the development of the new Auckland Regional Netball Centre to go ahead adjacent to the Ngahue Reserve.

Owner, Landco Ltd, says the site, which includes the disused Lunn Avenue quarry, will be developed over a six year period with a completion value in excess of $1.5 billion.

The Environment Court has granted a Partial Consent Order that related to about one-third of the site, rezoning the bulk of it from Business 7 to Residential 8b. The order followed a plan change lodged by former owners of the site which Auckland City declined due to the high level of commercial and retail development proposed.

The previous owners then appealed the decision to the Environment Court. Landco purchased the site before a hearing could be held and began negotiations with Auckland City and the seven parties to the plan change.

Landco worked extensively with Auckland City and the parties over a three year period to get agreement to an amended plan change, which has provided for the residential rezoning of part of the site.

Landco will next make an application to rezone the remainder of the site with the court following consultation with the council. The Environment Court may decide to re-notify the application after hearing from the parties.

At completion, the site is expected to be occupied by up to 1000 apartments, 1000 stand-alone houses and 1000 terraced houses. Site plans also accommodate a three-hectare primary school, public open spaces and convenience shops.

New methods of dealing with stormwater will be investigated. It is expected that the lake on the floor of the quarry will be drained by tunnel and treated before being released into the Tamaki Estuary. However, this still requires Auckland Regional Council consent. Landco and Auckland City are working together to ensure water is supplied to the newly restored Waiatarua wetlands.

The redevelopment will be the flagship for Auckland City’s new Residential 8 zoning which provides for more intensive urban development in selected suburban locations but rules out high-rise buildings. Plans will be assessed by the Urban Design Panel.

Auckland City first signalled the site should be used for residential activity in late 2000. The original proposal from the previous owners (Fletchers and Brierleys) involved the development of a new town centre with up to 50,000m2 of retail space, 10,000m2 of office space and around 700 – 900 residential units.

Residents, local businesses and the Auckland Regional Council objected. Auckland City rejected the plan saying that the proposed residential activity fell short of what should be provided by a site of that size and which could be absorbed by the market. Over 90 per cent of submitters to the original plan change supported a residential development on the site.

The site is identified in the regional growth strategy as a growth area and since its first meeting with Landco, Auckland City has said it wants to see a substantial residential component on the site.

Landco’s CEO Greg Olliver, said that now agreement had been reached between the various interested parties, the company would focus on working with council to finalise a masterplan for the site.

Landco shares the council’s desire for the development of high-quality urban design, he said.

“This decision by the court is a major and positive step forward in developing the site into a quality residential area — one that, together with the Auckland University Tamaki Campus, will transform the whole area.”

Councillor Juliet Yates, chairperson of the council’s City Development Committee, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city to achieve a truly landmark development which will lead the way in Auckland’s growth management strategy.

“Council and Landco both consider it essential that the development becomes a model of good urban design, ensuring high quality housing and a high quality environment for urban living.”

As part of the council’s Tamaki Edge transformation plans, the development will be integrated with other major projects such as the Tamaki Campus with its potential 10,000 students and staff, Ngahue Reserve including a major netball centre, and the possibility of an innovation business precinct targeting high value technology firms capable of creating 10,000 jobs.

The development will be constructed in stages. The first stage will focus on land on the rim of the quarry served by existing roads, followed by development of the core of the site.

Additional processes have to be completed but major work is anticipated soon.

ENDS

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