Po­lice called to res­i­dents’ protest over drive­way

Central Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CA­TRIN OWEN

Auck­land res­i­dents fight­ing to save a re­serve on their street had po­lice called on them dur­ing a peace­ful protest.

Mt Eden res­i­dent Michael Neill, his wife and a cou­ple of other res­i­dents sat on a Mt Eden road­side on Wrights Spur from 7am on Tues­day to stop con­trac­tors dig­ging up a strip of land they want left alone.

In the 1980s the then Mt Eden Bor­ough Coun­cil cre­ated a re­serve at the back of a com­mer­cial build­ing on Wrights Spur, stop­ping ve­hi­cles from ac­cess­ing the prop­erty.

For more than 30 years, res­i­dents in the area have had to fight new ten­ants, own­ers and the coun­cil to main­tain the re­serve af­ter re­peated at­tempts to gain in­dus­trial ac­cess to the ware­house on site.

In Novem­ber a de­vel­oper gained re­source con­sent from Auck­land Coun­cil to cre­ate a drive­way and in­dus­trial ac­cess to the site with­out hav­ing to no­tify res­i­dents.

When con­trac­tors showed up on Tues­day res­i­dents re­fused to move off the re­serve. Po­lice were called by the de­vel­oper Jed Wieland.

Wieland said the build­ing would be oc­cu­pied by a gym for at least the next two years and the en­trance would cre­ate a dis­abled ac­cess way.

Wieland said he had tried to be flex­i­ble with res­i­dents.

His con­trac­tors had al­ready turned up once be­fore in an at­tempt to start the work but were stopped by res­i­dents.

Po­lice were at the scene for two hours talk­ing to res­i­dents and try­ing to me­di­ate the dis­pute. Voices were raised but no ar­rests were made.

Coun­cil­lors Mike Lee and Chris­tine Fletcher also turned up in an bid to stop con­trac­tors de­mol­ish­ing the re­serve strip as well as Al­bert-Eden lo­cal board chair Pe­ter Haynes.

‘‘There is a prin­ci­ple at stake here that this is coun­cil land,’’ Lee said.

‘‘It’s break­ing the heart Auck­lan­ders do­ing this.’’

A meet­ing was held on Wednes­day be­tween res­i­dents, of lo­cal MP David Sey­mour, Fletcher and coun­cil plan­ners.

Neill said their only op­tion was to take the dis­pute to the High Court.

‘‘There is a prin­ci­ple at stake here that this is coun­cil land. It's break­ing the heart of Auck­lan­ders do­ing this.’’

CA­TRIN OWEN/STUFF

Michael Neill and other res­i­dents had the po­lice called on them.

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