As previously advised, the SRA made a submission to Auckland Council opposing the planned Warehouse development design which fills all of the vacant land on corner of Ngahue Drive and Lunn Avenue.
Our submission did not oppose the development because it is The Warehouse developing the site (they own the land and retail activity is provided for under the District Plan), but rather on the grounds that the design is unsound and would create significant negative effects on our community such as:
• over-developed site (approx. 50% additional retail area than the current planning rules allow);
• insufficient car parking (only 70% of what the current planning rules require);
• main building is positioned on the site (with its back to us), with high noise walls on to top the bank and existing retaining walls;
• poorly designed entranceway and exits (requiring delivery trucks to turn right off ngahue drive causing traffic problems);
• all heavy vehicles serving the site would drive along the existing residential boundaries including turning, reversing etc.;
• no pedestrian or cycle access to Stonefields;
• no treatment of storm water running off the site in to the Maungarei Springs wetlands.
Auckland Council’s Hearing Committee has heard a request from the applicant (The Warehouse) to have the application referred directly to the Environment Court (a division of the District Court). Auckland Council has decided that the proposed development (as submitted) should not go through the normal hearing process at Council, but should be sent directly for a formal legal hearing at the Environment Court. We understand that this was not in accordance with the recommendation of Council’s own planning staff or the submission made by the Orakei Local Board. For those who are interested in what the process entails the Ministry’s process can be found here:
So what does this mean for us in Stonefields?
Firstly, it means that if we are to continue to oppose this development, as it has been planned, we will need to appear before the Environment Court. This normally means getting legal representation and expert witnesses to support our case.
We have just been informed of the direct referral process and we, as a committee, are investigating how we should proceed. This includes seeking funding from the Ministry for the Environment, but it is safe to say at this stage, that we will need to find some financial resources to enable us to be able to continue with this process. Therefore, if we have any residents who have expertise in such areas (including the Environment Court) we would like to hear from you. Please use the Contact form on our website to let us know how you can assist.
We will keep you all informed on developments in the coming weeks and thank you for your continuing support.
In the meantime for those of you who missed it, here is the link to the article that appeared in the local newspaper