Mall hits resistance
RESIDENTS and community leaders are seeing red over a proposed private plan change by Westfield St Lukes that could turn a quiet residential street into a throughroute for mall traffic.
Westfield New Zealand has applied for a plan change so it can increase the size of the shopping mall by two hectares and double the floor area.
Documents presented to this month’s Auckland City Council city development committee say that to pro- vide for the higher density of development, the site will expand north along Morningside Drive to Exeter Rd to enable greater heights than currently permitted.
Exeter Rd will be extended to Aroha Ave to form a private link road.
But Aroha Ave residents say they fear the mega-mall and link road will create havoc.
St Lukes Residents Association member Peter Nightingale has lived on Aroha Ave for 33 years and says he has been opposed to Westfield’s extensions for two decades.
“It takes away the rights of residents and property owners. There will be peak traffic, noise and litter,” he says.
But Clive Mackenzie, general manager of development for Westfield New Zealand, says the plan change seeks to rezone only Westfieldowned land.
“The proposed plan change seeks to enable a greater range of mixed use activities thereby enabling, for example, residential or community activities, in addition to retail activities,” he says.
Mr Mackenzie says the project is in the early plan- ning stages and he could not give specific timings in regard to any development.
Mr Nightingale says that while Westfield only plans to develop land it already owns, neighbours are still affected.
“It is very unfair, there will be the impact of a huge carpark and road.”
Another Aroha Ave resident, Graham Dekker, moved into the street a year ago and says he was not aware Westfield planned to develop the mall further.
He says there is already plenty of vehicle access for the mall and the proposed road would have a big impact on the quiet street.
Councillor Glenda Fryer says she is concerned about the future impacts of the Westfield extension and its dominance over the community.
“Westfield are selling their plans as the next Nuffield St, they have a public relations slant and are making it look very seductive,” she says.
Ms Fryer says that doubling the mall’s size will double the traffic.
She says the gully and low-lying topography for the extension of Exeter Rd is perfect for Westfield to use as an underground carpark.
“It will be a traffic nightmare,” she says.
Ms Fryer says that if the plan change goes ahead, the shopping centres of Mt Albert, Balmoral and Sandringham will have the lifeblood sucked out of them.
The St Lukes Shopping Centre was established in 1971, redeveloped in 1991 and the cinema complex was added in 2003.
The private plan change will be publicly notified on April 26 with submissions closing on May 29.
Disgruntled: Plans to double the size of St Lukes mall have upset neighbouring residents, from left: Graham Dekker, Peter Nightingale, councillor Glenda Fryer and Mr Dekker’s daughter Wynona.