Fears for his­toric Grafton

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

A LOOM­ING devel­op­ment spells the end for his­toric Grafton, res­i­dents say.

The six-storey apart­ment build­ing on the cor­ner of Khy­ber Pass Rd and Huntly Ave pro­posed by Ock­ham Res­i­den­tial was granted re­source con­sent on Au­gust 6. It is within a spe­cial hous­ing area – mean­ing a fast­tracked process with quick con­sents, no public no­ti­fi­ca­tion and limited ap­peal rights.

Ac­tion Grafton spokes­woman Libby McLeay says the main bone of con­tention is the in­clu­sion of 77 car parks de­spite only 57 units planned.

The added cars will dec­i­mate the her­itage neigh­bour­hood and make the busy city-fringe in­ter­sec­tion even more dan­ger­ous, she says.

‘‘Grafton is a lovely neigh­bour­hood. It’s restor­ing it­self from the dam­age that hap­pened when it was cut in half by the mo­tor­way in the 1960s. It’s one of the most live­able places in Auck­land. But as soon as it be­comes grid­locked it’s not go­ing to be safe for our kids or our com­mu­nity.’’

There has been a se­vere lack of con­sul­ta­tion, McLeay says.

And it’s not just a Grafton is­sue with 63 Auck­land spe­cial hous­ing ar­eas in force and plenty more in the pipe­line, she says.

‘‘The spe­cial hous­ing ar­eas to­tally favour de­vel­op­ers, not the peo­ple strug­gling to buy houses or the com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘Peo­ple need to know, they don’t re­alise that they’re go­ing up ev­ery­where. We have no say.’’

But Ock­ham Res­i­den­tial direc­tor Mark Todd says buy­ers ex­pect Auck­land apart­ments to come with car parks.

The com­pany is plan­ning for one car park per apart­ment plus 15 spa­ces for the ground floor of­fices, he says.

He has spo­ken to other Grafton res­i­dents who op­pose apart­ment blocks with­out car park­ing be­cause the cars then take up the off­street park­ing, he says.

The site has been zoned for devel­op­ment for 10 years, he says.

‘‘In the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment, apart­ment de­vel­op­ments are rel­a­tively hard to con­vince the public to buy if they don’t have car park­ing.’’

Coun­cil­lor Mike Lee says spe­cial hous­ing ar­eas are spell­ing trou­ble for a lot of neigh­bour­hoods.

The num­ber of cars the Grafton devel­op­ment will gen­er­ate is crazy, he says.

‘‘Fast-tracked SHA de­vel­op­ments like this are com­pro­mis­ing neigh­bours’ prop­erty val­ues and worse tak­ing away their nor­mal civil rights to ob­ject.’’

Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board mem­ber Christo­pher Dempsey says the board has no ob­jec­tions to in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion but it must be done well.

Traf­fic con­cerns weren’t taken into ac­count when the spe­cial hous­ing area was des­ig­nated, he says.

The ex­tra cars on the road means in­creased risk of an accident on Khy­ber Pass, a vi­tal link between east and west Auck­land, he says.

Gen­er­a­tion Zero spokesman Sud­hvir Singh says the Grafton devel­op­ment is a good idea but there are too many car parks – par­tic­u­larly in light of the nearby public trans­port.

‘‘Ex­ces­sive park­ing is a poor use of space, in­cen­tivises car use and im­poses ad­di­tional costs which are passed on to home­own­ers and renters, mak­ing the hous­ing less af­ford­able.’’

An Auck­land Coun­cil spokesper­son says a meet­ing was held with res­i­dents, the Hous­ing Project Of­fice, Auck­land Trans­port and Ock­ham Res­i­den­tial in May to dis­cuss trans­port con­cerns. A traf­fic im­pact as­sess­ment on July 8 states the devel­op­ment ‘‘in­te­grates well with the ex­ist­ing trans­port sys­tem’’ and the ef­fect of pri­vate ve­hi­cle traf­fic would be ‘‘less than mi­nor’’.

Photo: LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Stand­ing up: Libby McLeay and Ac­tion Grafton group mem­bers Martin Dun­lop, Jane Roskruge, David Haigh, Jac­qui Cal­laghan, An­drew Strong and Ali­son Strong.

Big plans: The devel­op­ment on the cor­ner of Khy­ber Pass Rd and Huntly Ave in Grafton.

Christo­pher Dempsey

Mike Lee

Sud­hvir Singh

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