Ques­tions about Soho

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

A HALT in ac­tiv­ity at Pon­sonby’s Soho Square de­vel­op­ment is caus­ing con­cern.

Auck­land city coun­cil­lor Graeme Easte says the lack of ac­tion on the site, bor­der­ing Wil­liamson Ave, Crummer Rd and Pollen St, is “cer­tainly sus­pi­cious”.

He says at a meet­ing be­tween the Auck­land City Coun­cil and Soho Square de­vel­op­ers Marlin Group this month, project leader Paul Hud­son as­sured the coun­cil the lull in work was noth­ing more than a break be­tween con­struc­tion phases.

Work was due to re­sume by the end of Au­gust pro­vid­ing Marlin Group was granted re­source con­sent for the sec­ond stage of the project, says Mr Easte.

Marlin Group has con­sent for the first stage, al­low­ing build­ing to go 15 me­tres high and in­clud­ing 11 apart­ments. It has ap­plied for con­sent for the sec­ond stage, which will per­mit the build­ing to rise to 31.73 me­tres and in­clude 53 apart­ments.

A sign out­side the de­vel­op­ment ad­ver­tises the leas­ing of stage two.

But Mr Easte says the coun­cil has “stopped the clock” on the con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause it needs more in­for­ma­tion, mainly about traf­fic. “The ball is in the de­vel­oper’s court,” he says.

Pon­sonby res­i­dent Darcy Miller lives near the site and says there has been no change for weeks.

He is also con­cerned the num­ber of huts on the site has gone from four to one.

“There’s no work be­ing done at all,” he says. “It’s just a big pud­dle.” Mr Miller says he has safety con­cerns over steel re­in­force­ments in the con­crete, which are rust­ing.

“It’s def­i­nitely not struc­turally fin­ished,” he says.

Mr Miller says though the site is fenced, kids could climb over and get in.

When con­tacted by the Auck­land City Har­bour News Mr Hud­son asked for ques­tions to be emailed but did not re­spond.

Mr Easte says he can’t be­lieve the ex­ca­va­tion has taken as long as it has.

Last month Strate­gic Fi­nance, which loaned money for con­struc­tion of carparks and some build­ing works, an­nounced it would no longer be fund­ing the project.

Al­though Mr Easte says he and the West­ern Bays Com­mu­nity Board are not op­posed to the de­vel­op­ment, he hopes it will come to a head soon.

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