Housing plans a worry for school, community
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.
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.