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Developer lashes out after plan change declined

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.

More by Victoria Young

Comments and questions

This development looked like a no brainer - good transport and amenities in an area that people want to live.

Too many NIMBY!

I took time to attend one of the hearings to see what all the fuss was about.
Those mostly in attendance were aged closer to 100 than 30 and seeing as so many may be at risk of losing their drivers license any day now, their ability to stroll the area for much longer with shopping is questionable.
I have it on good authority the retailers in Milford are struggling with all the overhead and unless a major injection of paying customers arrive the place will be sleepy street.
Old people, I know, will be clamouring for an independent freehold place you can jump in a lift and get down to a choice of shops and services within the shortest of time your walker can take you. Here is the rub - the protesters don't want more people, but will be the first to moan when the post office or banks close. Just because some old stick in the mud only a few years away from an old folk's village can stop investment and private property rights beggars belief.

If you want to live like a battery hen then p*ss off to Sydney like the rest of you w*nkers all ready have.

If you don't want to live in the city New Zealand has no shortage of quaint rural towns.

The face of Milford is changing. It is no longer a retirement village by the sea. The city needs this type of development if it is to maximise it's infrastructure and resources, and thereby keep the rates we all pay at a lower level.

Milford is looking so clapped-out these days. Needs a facelift asap. What has happened a lot of old fuddy duddies have taken over the suburb they are virtually so far up themselves they can't see reason. Progress can't be stopped so make a decision for a facelift or let the place fall further and further backwards, as it is starting to look like south Auckland. Yuk.

Maybe they should not be so greedy
Cut the height and number of apts and it will go through.
Public transport and traffic in Milford is terrible
Requires a bit more thinking

So building on the fringes is a no-no (urban limits) but trying to do what our overlords tell us we're meant to do and building some high-rise apartments is also a no-no? Where the &^%# are Aucklanders meant to live?

Too many NIMBY's live in Auckland for there to be any real progress on anything.
That is the reason Auckland isn't making any meaningful progress in essential areas.

Exactly - this conundrum has been going on for years.

It has various names: NIMBY, BANANA (don't build anything near anyone never again), Greens, Ludites, Environmentalists, Social Planners, Unions. They are all united by an anti-progress, anti-development and anti-change mantra.

It never stops.

More apartments allow more people to enjoy Milford and high density increases public transport utilisation and allows improved public transport for all users.
This project should not be allowed - it should be required.

All of Auckland is changing.
Higher-density housing is inevitable and those wanting to keep their patch free of new initiatives are fighting a losing battle against progress and necessity.

How many levels were being planned street level and above ???

Not sure, but the existing mall looks 1x level at main pedestrian entries but its built into the hill on the bank of a gulley and mangrove creek that seems to allow it to have 2x further parking levels 'underground'. Looking down at the mall from over the gulley side its looks a real mess and anything that tidies that roofscape will be an improvement.

I am not to familiar with and do not live in the area but agree with the council's decision on this occasion.
The shoebox apartments the council approved for Auckland city will create slum-like residents in the years to come. Not something you want to see happen to the suburbs, which should be preserved as long as they can.
Of course the developer is going to be annoyed. It's all about $$.

I think that, generally, intensification around centres is a good thing, but each proposal needs to be assessed on its merits and obviously this was not a good one. In the rush to intensify around centres the council shouldn't just approve any and every application. If we're going to intensify it needs to be well-designed and good quality.

Also it should be noted that the decision was made by independent commissioners, not the council. The commissioners stated that "the issue here is not whether Milford should be an intensified town centre but whether this plan change appropriately facilitates that end". It seems it did not, but I'd say a good redesign could get through.

I'm old enough to remember the days when you could get a bit of dirt and drag together an old car case or buy an old tram, maybe just a truckload of scrap lumber and iron and bang up a bach.
Nowadays every smelly armpit has an opinion as to what colour my front door is painted and hordes of council employed kids educated in communism wanting to charge me for pruning the trees I originally planted.
I knew we were on the skids once a load of 10 pound poms arrived to become teachers.
My days if someone had the money and wanted to build something on his own land good on him.

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