Bunnings have plans to build a superstore  on Great North Road, from the corner of King street to almost Bond Street. Bunnings bought the site at 272-302 Great North Rd, which is on the border of Arch Hill and Grey Lynn.  Building a superstore on this site is a non-complying activity and as such it has to get  resource consent. The zoning is mixed use in the present district plan, as is most of the Great North Road ridge between Grey Lynn and Arch Hill. This zoning is to “enable a diverse and compatible mix of residential, business, education and leisure activities” in areas of the city that are close to town centres and are handy to public transport.

I have led the Waitemata Local Board support for the Arch Hill residents in their fight to prevent the Bunnings ‘big box’ development on this site on Great North Road and at the 14 May 2013 monthly board meeting we passed the following resolution:

That the Waitemata Local Board:

i) Does not support this application on the grounds that it is non-complying and that it may jeopardise future intensification and development along Great  North Road.

ii) In addition notes the significant other issues for the residents such as, but not limited to, traffic, noise and possible pollution.

iii) Sees this linear route as an opportunity to be an area of intensive housing with  small commercial, retail and hospitality at street level. Big box developments such as the Bunning’s proposal may prevent good development along Great North Road.

(Moved and seconded:  Tricia Reade/Shale Chambers)

This is the first and only time the board has taken a formal outside ‘local board input’ position in respect of an RMA consent application. There are usually two sides to all applications, and competing rights and wrongs. With this one we see no such ambiguities and conflict. It’s also a test of council’s will to see the intentions for the Auckland Plan and the Unitary Plan (even though we are under the old rules), become a reality, rather than ‘nice on paper’ generalities. Allowing the Bunnings’ development to go ahead would spoil future development along this ridge, a key area for intensification development in the Waitemata Local Board area.  What is doubly pertinent in regard to this issue is that both the community and the Local Board support intensification and appropriate high rise along Great North Road.

Along with the residents we are waiting to hear the date of the hearing on this application. It is most likely to be late August early September 2013. The residents are now gearing up to fundraise in order to have ‘expert witnesses’ – planners and traffic engineers fight for them at the hearings. There is no doubt that Bunnings will put a great deal of time and money in trying to gain resource consent for their super store and we will support the residents in their fight to prevent this development.

Tricia Reade, member Waitemata Local Board

Arch Hill Residents on FB

Contact Sue Lyons at  archhill2013@gmail.com

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