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Mayor expresses regret over Turua Street

News Release Office of the Mayor
17 January 2011

Mayor expresses regret over Turua Street

The Mayor has expressed his regret that Auckland Council has apparently not been able to find an affordable way to save three houses in St Heliers despite weeks of hard work and negotiations between the council, the developer and local residents.

Len Brown says he is determined that this kind of issue not be repeated and to ensure the Auckland Plan protects our built heritage.

"Auckland Council's hands were tied because of decisions of the Environment Court and previous councils," the Mayor says. "Absolutely everything that could be reasonably and legally be done was done in this case, but unfortunately, that was not enough.

Len Brown says in the end the developer would only sell all of his properties in the area in one block, for a price which included full recovery of costs and margin. "That could have cost more than $10 million.

"While you can't put a price on preserving our city's heritage, it is difficult to justify this sort of unplanned cost."

The possibility of including the facades of the properties in the new development was also discussed, but unfortunately, agreement could not be reached on that either.

It has been suggested that a heritage order could save the properties. "Auckland Council staff spent a great deal of time looking at this, but it was clear the buildings did not have the heritage qualities necessary to issue a heritage order and once again, that decision would have resulted in the council being taken to court and potentially ended up costing ratepayers millions of dollars."

"We have done everything we could have, given the outcome of the process to date, including the plan change which was handed down by the Environment Court," says the Mayor. "We will do everything reasonable in our power to ensure this doesn't happen again."

ENDS

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