Mall hits re­sis­tance

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

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.

Photo: AMELIA JA­COB­SEN

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.

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