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Battle intensifies to preserve iconic site

Battle intensifies to preserve iconic New Zealand heritage site

The Birkenhead Residents Association

The battle to retain Birkenhead's heritage culture and environmental status is heating up - with a residents association formed to oppose Chelsea Sugar Refinery's private plan change to develop the company's parkland premises into a high-density housing estate.

The Chelsea Sugar Refinery and its surrounding native bush are national icons – and now the Birkenhead Residents Association is urging residents from across the North Shore and greater Auckland to join in its fight against the refinery's plans for high rise residential apartment blocks.

North Shore City Council is currently accepting a second round of submissions on the proposed 550 Unit Chelsea Development - which would not only increase traffic flows through Highbury village centre, but also see the destruction of cherished wildlife reserves around the existing seaside plant. The latest round of community responses can only support or oppose submissions made to North Shore City Council earlier this year.

Birkenhead Residents Association president Harvey White said an overwhelming majority of the 530 first round submissions opposed Chelsea's high-density residential development. The association's website - www.bra.org.nz - has been bombarded with inquiries from North Shore residents anxiously seeking more information on how they can object to Chelsea's proposed mid-rise apartment blocks.

"Objections have come from a huge cross-section of the community," said Mr White. "Objections have flowed from ecological groups, historical societies, cultural organisations, North Shore City Council, The Auckland Regional Council, and from hundreds of concerned residents.

"The most comprehensive objection submission, and certainly the submission which impressed the Birkenhead Residents Association with its well thought-out arguments, was the document prepared by the Auckland Regional Council," said Mr White.

Just some of the grounds on which the Auckland Regional Council opposes the Chelsea plan are the basis that:

- The park contains a large area of regenerating native forest that would be adversely affected by any housing development.

- The Chelsea land and its position within the Birkenhead/Chatswood foreshore, is unsuitable for high-density urban housing development.

- The Chelsea proposal contains no forethought on reducing vehicle traffic through the area resulting from the new housing units.

- The Chelsea proposal has been prepared without proper assessment of the historic heritage of the site.
And

- The new housing development would be an eyesore for boat users on the harbour, and for anyone looking at the proposed new site from the southern side of the city.

"Birkenhead Residents Association is now encouraging its members - and indeed the wider Auckland community - to support the Auckland Regional Council's submission which, in simple yet strong tones, is vehemently opposed to the butchering up of this wonderful city asset."

Details of how to support the Auckland Regional Council submission against Chelsea Sugar Refinery's residential development can be viewed on the Birkenhead Residents Association website - www.bra.org.nz

Lodging support of the ARC submission, must be posted to North Shore City Council by Friday September 29.

Caption: The iconic Auckland view under threat ... Chelsea Sugar Refinery. And members of the Birkenhead Residents Association, from left: Brendon De Silva, Harvey White, Heather Nicholson, Dougall Love, Carol Scott, and Lorraine Steele.

ENDS


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