A developer planning to build 235 apartments above a mall in Auckland's North Shore has spoken out after a plan change was rejected, halting the project.
The applicant was mall owner Milford Centre Ltd, part of New Zealand Retail Property Group that is developing Westgate town centre.
In its report, the hearings panel appointed by Auckland Council says the intensive redevelopment proposed to the character of Milford would be significant and have adverse consequences to how people use their neighbourhood.
The panel was careful to point out the ruling was not a test case for the rest of Auckland.
However, Milford Centre Ltd commercial general manager Campbell Barbour says the decision proves there is a real barrier to the housing intensification city leaders talk about.
“There is a lot of vision and will at a political level to try and achieve ‘intensification outcomes’, ‘compact city forms’, ‘a world-class city’ and all the other catch phases, but the reality is different.
“What we don’t want developers to do is take the easy route and build traditional Kiwi homes on the edge of the city. Tall buildings can be elegant and a lot of cities have people living in them and enjoying them," Mr Barbour says.
The decision comes as the Auckland Council yesterday approved its draft unitary plan, which allows debate over the development of eight- or nine-storey buildings in residential areas. That process officially begins on March 15.
Mr Barbour says Milford Centre Ltd is still digesting the decision and is unsure if it will appeal.