Hous­ing plans a worry for school, com­mu­nity

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

A se­ries of im­pend­ing state house de­vel­op­ments has put one east Auck­land school on edge.

Hous­ing New Zealand is plan­ning to re­de­velop three sites in a spe­cial hous­ing area (SHA) clus­ter in Mead­ow­bank to cre­ate up to 40 new homes, caus­ing wide­spread com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion.

The first, and small­est, re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion for eight new houses has been ap­proved by the coun­cil on a non-no­ti­fied ba­sis.

Mead­ow­bank School wants to have a say on any devel­op­ment from this point for­ward.

Chair­woman Rachel Mur­doch says it is es­sen­tial for schools to have no­tice of de­vel­op­ments that will cause their rolls to boom.

An in­crease in pri­mary school-aged chil­dren in the area would se­ri­ously im­pact on school plan­ning for build­ing devel­op­ment, Mur­doch says.

More traf­fic on the roads is an­other con­cern.

Mur­doch sent a let­ter to coun­cil on March 2 ask­ing for the devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions to be granted on a limited no­ti­fi­ca­tion ba­sis.

‘‘Th­ese de­vel­op­ments are not just one lit­tle bub­ble; it’s a mas­sive in­fill within half a kilo­me­tre.

‘‘The ear­lier we can be aware of any changes in our school zone, the ear­lier we can plan so that it’s go­ing to be long-last­ing.’’

Grant Dick­son is chair­man of a res­i­dents’ group in the area and says the school’s con­cerns are echoed by the com­mu­nity.

The lack of no­ti­fi­ca­tion is a real stick­ing point, he says.

‘‘It’s frus­trat­ing for every­body.

‘‘Putting a high den­sity devel­op­ment on what is re­ally a very small street cre­ates a lot of prob­lems for the school.

‘‘Our in­tent was never to stop the devel­op­ment but have in­put in re­gards to den­sity and other bits and pieces.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately we have at­tempted on many oc­ca­sions to en­gage but have been de­clined.’’

Hous­ing New Zealand spokesman Pa­trick Dougherty says SHAs are de­signed to stream­line the devel­op­ment process.

It is the coun­cil’s job to con­sider and man­age the po­ten­tial ef­fects of devel­op­ment on com­mu­ni­ties and in­fra­struc­ture in SHAs, he says.

Dougherty says Hous­ing New Zealand con­sulted with the lo­cal board, MP Simon O’Con­nor and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion. A public meet­ing will be held on March 25 to dis­cuss con­cerns and to show the com­mu­nity its plans.

‘‘We are com­mit­ted to work­ing within this leg­is­la­tion, and as such do not con­sider it ap­pro­pri­ate to re­lit­i­gate is­sues that have al­ready been con­sid­ered by coun­cil.

‘‘Nev­er­the­less we do ac­tively en­gage with key stake­hold­ers in SHA ar­eas to let them know of our devel­op­ment in­ten­tions,’’ he says.

O’Con­nor agrees that en­gag­ing with the com­mu­nity is vi­tal.

‘‘There’s more of th­ese to come through­out the city, so they’ve got to get it right.’’

An Auck­land Coun­cil spokesper­son says it re­ceived ‘‘a cou­ple of dozen emails and let­ters’’ from Mead­ow­bank res­i­dents and groups about the SHA devel­op­ment.

The min­istry did not raise any con­cerns with coun­cil at monthly meet­ings about the SHA, the spokesper­son says.

Photo: LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Plan­ning prob­lems: Should schools have a say in SHAs? Mead­ow­bank School in east Auck­land is con­cerned about the im­pact of planned Hous­ing New Zealand de­vel­op­ments on its doorstep.

Speak­ing up: Grant Dick­son says the whole com­mu­nity should have in­put into Spe­cial Hous­ing Area de­vel­op­ments.

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