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Grant Gillon Welcomes Rejection Of High-Rise Plans

Media Release

18 May 2012

Dr. Grant Gillon, Member Kaipatiki Board

Kaipatiki Local Board Sends Highbury High-Rise Plans back to the Drawing Board.

“I am delighted that the Kaipatiki Local Board has listened to the community and rejected proceeding on the proposed plan change for Highbury" said Kaipatiki Local Board member Grant Gillon today.

The former North Shore City held many consultation evenings with the community over allowing higher buildings along Mokoia Road and Birkenhead Avenue. The feedback showed a high level of concern about shadowing, wind tunnel effects, increased congestion, deficient parking, and the loss of the current village appeal of the centre.

“The proposals under the former North Shore City would have had a negative impact on the local shopping centre and community”, said Grant Gillon.

"This rejection follows hard on the heels of the release of a confidential report that recommended intensification of two heritage areas in Kaipatiki’s area: Northcote Point and Birkenhead Point,” said Dr. Gillon.

“This secret report was recently featured in the media during a discussion on Auckland’s Unitary Plan. The continued discussion focussing on the loss of heritage in these areas has renewed community concern”, said Grant Gillon. “This highlights that there are two serious planning issues facing the community in Birkenhead: the push by planners for high-rise intensification in Birkenhead, and the proposals to undermine our heritage areas”.

The attack on our heritage areas has gained greater concern following the scandal of heritage loss in Paget St and Hakanoa St (Central Auckland). In both of these cases a council planner was dumped for refusing to approve demolition and replaced by a consultant who approved it.

“The community must remain vigilant to ensure the retention of our two heritage residential zones are retained in their current form or strengthened. We must not allow the planners to go down the old Auckland City path where corrugated iron and concrete block was considered, and seems to be still considered, sympathetic to heritage neighbourhoods”.

However, the plans to allow high-rise and intensive development in Birkenhead have not gone away, they have just shifted.

Officers advise that the proposals will be integrated with the Auckland Plan as part of a proposed Kaipatiki Local Board Area Plan development next year.

“I am concerned that this highly contentious issue will be subsumed into an Auckland Plan that will have less prominence for our community but greater importance. ”, said Grant Gillon.


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