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Library to be built on Nell Fisher Reserve

Library to be built on Nell Fisher Reserve

North Shore City Council will change its District Plan to allow the much-needed new Birkenhead Library and Civic Centre to be re-built on Nell Fisher Reserve.

After two days of hearings, independent commissioners decided to allow the re-zoning of most of the land to special purpose 9, community use.

The primary reasons for approving the plan change were that there was a need for a new library and Plunket rooms at Highbury, and that Nell Fisher Reserve was an appropriate location.

North Shore City Council's community services and parks committee chairwoman, Margaret Miles, is delighted with the outcome.

"Nell Fisher Reserve is the most appropriate site for the new Birkenhead Library and Civic Centre. It is the site of the first public library in North Shore City," she says.

North Shore City library services manager, Geoff Chamberlain, agrees.

"Birkenhead needs a new library, and the addition of other community facilities such as Plunket rooms and Citizens Advice Bureau," he says.

A total of 219 submissions were received during the consultation period, 161 in support of the plan change that would allow the planned library and civic centre to be built, and 58 in opposition.

Responses ranged from support of the plan change in its entirety, to making the library's temporary premises at Birkenhead Leisure Centre permanent, to re-building the library at a different location, and not having a café.

The plan change was necessary as the council's application for consent to re-build Birkenhead Library and Civic Centre was turned down by independent commissioners seven months ago, primarily because of the land's zoning.

This decision increases the size of the recreation 2 zoning at the corner of the site at the intersection of Rawene Rd and Hinemoa St from 472 sq m to 728sq m, in order to retain more public open space, and four more big trees.

It also requires a controlled activity consent application for new buildings, such as an information centre, that could previously have been built on the site without consent.

Mr Chamberlain says in the meantime library services continue as usual, just at a different location.

"The library is now at our local leisure centre, the area office and Citizens Advice Bureau at the Rawene Centre, and Highbury Plunket is operating from Highbury Community House in Hinemoa St," he says.

All submitters will soon receive a copy of the independent commissioners' decision. They have six weeks to lodge an appeal against the decision with the Environment Court.

New plans for Birkenhead Library and Civic Centre will be drawn up to fit in with the special purpose 9 zoning and to integrate with the larger reserve area. Construction is expected to begin later this year.


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