No go on Soho Square
THE controversial Soho Square development has been denied resource consent, bringing relief for Ponsonby residents.
Consent was refused because of adverse effects, including shading, dominance and loss of amenity, on bordering properties in Crummer Rd and Maidstone St.
The application by developers Marlin Group almost doubled height and floor space limits under the district plan.
Crummer Rd resident Ken Johnson says the commissioners got it right.
“I think the actions of almost a thousand people in this community need to be congratulated.”
Grey Lynn resident Amanda Rees moved from Crummer Rd earlier this year because of concerns about Soho and also submitted against it at the hearing.“
I’m really rapt that it hasn’t made it through.”
But she’s disappointed Marlin Group plans to appeal against the decision.
“It’s a shame that they can’t just build according to what the district plan allows,” she says.
“They should be thinking about what a community needs.”
Marlin Group said yesterday it has lodged an appeal with the Environment Court.
Project manager Paul Hudson says they have taken encouragement in some of the commissioners’ comments.
Commissioners said three of the five buildings in the proposal were “not an issue” but suggested a reduction in the size of two others.
Mr Hudson says Marlin will undertake a design review before an appeal hearing.
The group already has resource consent for a smaller development on the old DYC Vinegar Factory site, which complies with the 15-metre height restriction.
Excavation work for underground carparking has been completed.
Western Bays councillor Graeme Easte says he’s pleased with the commissioners’ decision, but disappointed Marlin is going straight to an appeal.
In his submission, Mr Easte urged the developers to engage with the community on a rethink of the whole development instead.
He says not everyone in Ponsonby will agree on a vision for the site, but there needs to be more consultation.
“They’ve come at us and told us what they plan to do. That’s not consulting,” he says.
Mr Easte says a small group of submitters would be meeting soon to discuss proceeding against the appeal.
Traffic and heritage concerns were the main issues of contention for submitters at the hearing, but commissioners found they were not significant factors.
They said the three historic buildings nearby, Ponsonby Rd’s Allendale House, home to the ASB Community Trust, the former Ponsonby fire station on Williamson Ave and Lord Ponsonby’s Antique’s building, would not be significantly affected.
ASB Community Trust chief executive Jenny Gill disagrees, saying the impact would have been severe.
“If you allow buildings that are out of scale with the neighbourhood you destroy the historic nature of that.”
She is delighted at the decision and says the trust will participate in the upcoming appeal.
No go: Amanda Rees says she is rapt an application for the Soho Square development has been turned down.