15 Dec 2018

Court quashes rich-lister's bid to build heli-pad near public beach

4:05 pm on 15 December 2018

One of the country's wealthiest men has had his application to build a helicopter pad on a popular Auckland beach overturned.

The helipad construction site

The helipad construction site Photo: Supplied/ Tim Duhamel

The Auckland Council had granted Briscoes boss Rod Duke consent to reconstruct an existing boatshed into a helicopter pad at Sentinel Beach in Herne Bay.

Mr Duke was granted the consent on the condition he used the pad only three times a week, after he initially applied to use it up to six times a week.

He had intended to use the pad to take his business associates to and from Auckland's golf courses more quickly, and show visitors around the city.

The High Court has quashed the consent after the Kawau Island Action Incorporated Society challenged the council's decision.

The group argued that the pad would create safety problems for beach-goers and residents would suffer from the noise.

It also opposed the council's process to grant the consent, because it didn't seek submissions from local residents.

The group's chair, Andy Coleman, is delighted with the outcome.

"It's a victory for the public to be able to use public space and a defeat for any private individual who thinks they can privatise part of the coastal marine area for their own personal use."

He hopes the decision pushes the council to seek public submissions before granting similar consents.

In her decision, High Court Judge Christine Gordon said the council " failed to consider the potential effects on the amenity values of recreational users and the safety of the helicopter landing and taking off on users of the beach and surrounding water".

It is up to the council to determine when it will publicly notify applications, she said, but that it must do so if an application is likely to have more than minor adverse affects of the environment.

"Given my conclusion that the notification decision is flawed and invalid, it must follow that the consent decision is also deficient and cannot stand," she said.

Rod Duke has been approached for comment.