St Pat’s vows to fight

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

STAFF at St Pa­trick’s Cathe­dral say they won’t sur­ren­der to a sky­scraper threat­en­ing their patch.

The cathe­dral op­posed a neigh­bour­ing apart­ment de­vel­op­ment on Al­bert St ear­lier this year be­cause a carpark­ing en­trance on St Pa­trick’s Square would ruin the “oa­sis of peace”.

The pro­posal for the build­ing, called Saf­fron Apart­ments, in­cludes 153 apart­ments and 15 mez­za­nine lev­els, which would make it the fifth high­est build­ing in Auck­land.

But af­ter an ad­journed re­source con­sent hear­ing in April, de­vel­oper Sanc­tu­ary Group has now pre­sented a mod­i­fied ap­pli­ca­tion, in­clud­ing ma­jor changes to park­ing ac­cess.

Cathe­dral busi­ness man­ager Kevin Sher­lock says it is a small victory but the fight is far from over.

“We’ll con­tinue to fight this as long as we can.”

In­stead of an en­trance ad­ja­cent to St Pa­trick’s Square, the only ac­cess for cars will be on Al­bert St.

But Mr Sher­lock says there are still geotech­ni­cal is­sues af­fect­ing the foun­da­tions of the cathe­dral.

The cat­e­gory one her­itage build­ing un­der­went a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar strength­en­ing and restora­tion project last year.

The Auck­land City Coun­cil is cur­rently up­grad­ing the sur­round­ing square at a cost of $8 mil­lion.

Mr Sher­lock says there are con­cerns about the ef­fect of vi­bra­tions from a nine-level un­der­ground carpark.

Though Sanc­tu­ary has changed the lo­ca­tion of the carpark en­trance, ex­perts work­ing on be­half of the cathe­dral say there is still a se­ri­ous risk.

And the staff have other rea­sons for op­pos­ing the de­vel­op­ment, says Mr Sher­lock.

“We’re still strongly op­posed to it. It’s com­pletely out of keep­ing with the her­itage char­ac­ter of the area.”

Mr Sher­lock says there could be much bet­ter use made of the site.

The church has ap­proached the coun­cil about ei­ther re­tain­ing the for­mer McDon­ald Hal­li­gan Motors build­ing or turn­ing the area into more green space.

Dur­ing the April hear­ing, His­toric Places Trust her­itage ad­viser Robin By­ron said the pro­posed tower is out of scale and would com­pete with the cathe­dral, di­lut­ing the precinct’s his­toric char­ac­ter.

De­vel­oper Gary Groves says he doesn’t an­tic­i­pate fur­ther op­po­si­tion to the pro­posal when the hear­ing re­con­venes on De­cem­ber 11.

“Our in­ten­tion is to make the church comfortable with the re­design,” he says.

Mr Groves says Sanc­tu­ary’s geotech­ni­cal ex­pert will talk with the cathe­dral’s en­gi­neer be­fore the hear­ing restarts.

“We be­lieve we can sat­isfy any is­sues they have.”

Sub­mis­sions close on De­cem­ber 3.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.