Op­po­si­tion to mall plan grows

Central Leader - - News - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

The size of West­field St Lukes will in­crease dra­mat­i­cally if a pri­vate plan change goes ahead, with com­mu­nity at­ten­tion now turn­ing to pos­si­ble re­lo­ca­tion of the St Lukes com­mu­nity li­brary.

Auck­land city coun­cil­lor Glenda Fryer is con­cerned about the fu­ture of the li­brary, say­ing it is be­ing moved without con­sult­ing the com­mu­nity.

“The de­vel­op­ers will move it where it is most con­ve­nient.

“It is be­ing used as a dis- pos­able com­mod­ity,” she says.

But West­field New Zealand di­rec­tor Justin Lynch says pos­si­ble re­lo­ca­tion of the li­brary isn’t part of West­field’s ap­pli­ca­tion for the plan change.

“Given the li­brary land is owned by coun­cil, it is their place to com­ment,” he says.

“Nat­u­rally the vi­sion for any fu­ture de­vel­op­ment could in­clude com­mu­nity ser­vices.”

Coun­cil city de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee chair­man Aaron Bhat­na­gar says he is not aware of any coun­cil plans to move the li­brary, but says West­field has in­quired about long-term plans for it and its pos­si­ble in­te­gra­tion into the mall.

A let­ter from the coun­cil to West­field on May 23 last year out­lines a dis­cus­sion from an ur­ban de­sign panel meet­ing about re­lo­cat­ing the li­brary.

“The panel favours build­ing de­vel­op­ment on the Corn­wal­lis St frontage in the long term. This would be greatly fa­cil­i­tated by the re­lo­ca­tion of the li­brary from its cor­ner site,” the let­ter reads.

The ap­pli­ca­tion for the plan change says both coun­cil of­fi­cers and the ur­ban de­sign panel sup­port the li­brary be­ing shifted north to be­come part of the “main-street” en­vi­ron­ment.

West­field says it is cre­at­ing a “main-street” en­vi­ron­ment sim­i­lar to Nuffield St in New­mar­ket.

Mr Lynch says that in line with com­mu­nity feed­back and best prac­tice in ur­ban de­sign, the plan change would en­able fu­ture de­vel­op­ment to cater for im­proved in­te­gra­tion with the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity.

The com­pany says it is in the ini­tial process of en­sur­ing St Lukes is at the heart of a well-func­tion­ing town cen­tre for the lo­cal area.

Gra­ham Dekker, who lives near the mall on Aroha Ave, says all three mem­bers of his fam­ily use the li­brary ex­ten­sively and they would be happy with the move if it was to Morn­ing­side Drive or Ex­eter Rd.

Mr Dekker says he thinks the ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents on his street would not op­pose a li­brary re­lo­ca­tion but they are to­tally op­posed to any ex­ten­sion of Ex­eter Rd to link with Aroha Ave.

Res­i­dent Peter Nightin­gale agrees, say­ing the li­brary is a well-used amenity, but he has con­cerns about traf­fic flow in res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

Ms Fryer says de­vel­op­ers are con­ning the com­mu­nity to look at the pos­i­tives.

“West­field has dwarfed the li­brary. The bot­tom line is no to the Ex­eter St plans and no to the li­brary shift.”

Ms Fryer also feels that pri­vate plan changes are be­ing rushed through be­fore the sys­tem changes un­der the new gov­er­nance struc­ture.

Sub­mis­sions on the pri­vate plan change are open un­til May 29.

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