29 Oct 2014

Developers critical of 30-year plan

3:28 pm on 29 October 2014

Hearings are under way on Auckland's first combined plan which will shape how the city grows.

Developers today began to put forward their oral submissions on the draft blueprint, of the 30-year plan which envisages 70 percent of future population growth to be in housing within the urban area.

The unitary plan's regional policy statement includes enabling urban growth and economic well-being and protecting heritage.

The unitary plan's regional policy statement includes enabling urban growth and economic well-being and protecting heritage. Photo: PHOTO NZ

More than 100 people attended the first session on the regional policy statement part of the council's unitary plan, which outlines its intentions for more medium- and high-rise living in the city.

Jon Maplesden represented developers and landowners and said the council has lost sight of what the plan was for and went into too much detail, when it should have been enabling people and communities to do what they wanted.

Mr Maplesden believed that the council has prepared the document in haste, saying it gives the impression it is telling everyone how to live and what to do and it needed to crank back the level of detail it provided.

He said there had been a wealth of information that has been ignored, and the document fails to distinguish between areas with very different demographic profiles.

The council defended what it said had been implied criticism about a lack of public consultation, describing its consultation as comprehensive and innovative.

The panel questioned the council's planners on some aspects of its documents, pointing out that there was no definition of what constituted historic heritage and no guarantee that character heritage buildings would be protected.

The plan's regional policy statement is to enable quality urban growth and economic well-being, protect heritage, manage natural resources and the rural and coastal environment, and respond to climate change.

Much of the hearing was about legal precedents in the resource management arena and how the plan fits in with them.

Other submitters included Auckland Airport, shopping centre owners Westfield and retirement village owners.

Westfield pressed the panel on the provision of car parking at retail centres and talked about possible mixed uses of its sites, including sports, office and accommodation.

Retirement village owners Summerfield said during most of the life of the 30-year unitary plan, one-fifth of Auckland's population will be over 65.

It said land should not be zoned specifically for aged care facilities, and with the huge rise in accommodation that will be needed, some rest homes will start to be built on smaller sites and some will be multi-storey.

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