Arch Hill battle ends
COMPROMISE has brought an end to a lengthy battle concerning a controversial Bunnings store in Arch Hill.
The Environmental Court last week released a decision on the case, brought against the hardware giant by residents, Norfolk Powell Properties and Kindercare Learning Centres.
Disappointed residents who opposed the development are now coming to terms with having the three-level store rise on the suburb’s ridgeline at 272-302 Great North Rd.
‘‘It was a hard pill to swallow,’’ Arch Hill Residents Incorporated Society spokesman David Batten says.
‘‘There is no way we were going to be able to fight an Environment Court battle – you can only do so much, we’re tired and worn out.’’
Residents banded together to fight the development when they first heard of the plans in March last year ( Auckland City Harbour News, April 17, 2013).
They feared the large store would intrude on the suburb’s quiet streets with traffic, noise and parked cars.
Resource consent was granted by independent commissioners in November last year.
Opponents of the development have won some concessions after appealing to the court. Bunnings will have no access to the Dean St culde-sac. Summer trading hours and the number of goods delivery vehicles have been reduced from earlier proposals.
Anita Aggrey says residents have to take some comfort in these changes.
‘‘We have to look at the positive side of it now – we did the best that we could do and if we hadn’t done that it would have been a hell of a lot worse,’’ she says.
She has lived in the mixeduse zoning area for almost two decades.
The reality of living next to the busy site will be a huge adjustment, she says.
‘‘Things will be much more manageable than what was originally proposed but it’s still going to be a real change of mindset now as a community as we are going to have to navigate around 32 trucks and thousands of cars a day.’’
Residents are relieved the suggestion to internalise a loading lane was considered in the ruling, she says.
‘‘It was a really mighty win and it’s a shame that we had to fight for that because that was a no-brainer considering the size of the street and the fact that there are kindergartens and schools close by.’’
Batten says there are some positives to be found from the two-year battle. ‘‘We’ve unearthed a hell of a lot of talent and a lot of people who are passionate about the suburb. Every man and his dog knows where Arch Hill is now.’’