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Council moves to protect town centre character



1 May 2006

Council moves to protect town centre character

The Auckland City Council has agreed to adopt a Hearings Panel recommendation to give greater protection to certain buildings in the city’s more established town centres.

The council received 60 submissions on a proposed plan change to introduce character overlays in six of the city’s older town centres, including upper Symonds Street, Kingsland, West Lynn, Grey Lynn, Ellerslie and Eden Valley.

The proposal, Plan Change 132, was publicly notified in September 2004. It aims to encourage the protection and enhancement of traditional buildings that contribute to the character of town centres.

People were invited to make submissions on those properties identified in the plan change as needing greater protection because they help to define the character of these areas.

The chairperson of the Planning and Regulatory Committee, Councillor Glenda Fryer, says the changes are another step in the council’s efforts to help preserve the city’s character.

“These areas have their own special character and we want to retain the architectural qualities that give these town centres their unique identify.

“The changes are designed to encourage the preservation of traditional character buildings so that they survive for future generations to enjoy.

“This should ensure that the development of these areas occurs in a controlled and managed way which enhances and promotes the character these areas,” Ms Fryer says.

The character overlay rules mean a resource consent is needed for the demolition, alteration or addition to any building classified as ‘character defining’ in these areas.

Those buildings classified as ‘character defining’ are considered to make a critical contribution to the character of the streetscape due to their historic and/or architectural elements.

A number of property owners objected to the new rules through the submissions process.

However, the Hearings Panel noted that it was important to balance the rights of property owners with the need to preserve the traditional character of town centres.

In addition, the character overlay also introduces design guidelines for the six town centres, to encourage the development of new buildings which are sympathetic to the existing town centre character.

The council has also approved centre plans for Mt Eden and St Heliers villages.

The centre plans also aim to help preserve the ambience of these areas by offering greater protection to buildings which are considered critical to the areas’ character.

“These two villages make a special contribution to Auckland’s urban make-up – Mt Eden as the gateway to Maungawhau/Mt Eden and St Heliers as a seaside village.

“The centre plans mean any further development in these areas will reflect the attributes that contribute to the identities of these areas,” Ms Fryer says.

In addition to increased controls for character buildings, the centre plans also introduce traffic and parking controls, design guidelines for new buildings and some amended development controls.

The council received 63 submissions on the centre plan proposals.

The council’s decisions on submissions will be sent to all submitters who have the opportunity under the Resource Management Act to lodge an appeal to the decision.

If there are no appeals then the character overlay and centre plans will become operative as part of Auckland City’s District Plan in the next few months.


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