Bupa alarms res­i­dents

Coun­cil ap­proves wing

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

A David and Go­liath-type bat­tle to pre­vent an ex­ten­sion to Whitby Rest Home and Hospi­tal has been lost by the self- de­scribed ‘‘ Davids’’, those liv­ing in the shadow of the planned build­ing.

The rest home, run by Tau­ranga-based com­pany Bupa, has been granted ap­proval by Porirua City Coun­cil to build a 29-bed hospi­tal wing on 4 and 4a Ob­ser­va­tory Close.

The new build­ing will vary in height be­tween 4.8 and 7.95m, and will mea­sure 920sqm. Staff num­bers will in­crease from 22 to 35. The project fails to meet cri­te­ria for sub­ur­ban de­vel­op­ments in Porirua’s District Plan, so its mer­its were con­sid­ered at a ju­di­cial hear­ing last Novem­ber, and ap­proval was granted last week.

The hear­ing panel chair­woman, city coun­cil­lor Sue Dow, ac­knowl­edges that un­der the District Plan Bupa should have to pro­vide 177 car parks for a build­ing of the size it was plan­ning. It will pro­vide 21.

The rest home’s build­ings will also ex­ceed its max­i­mum site al­lowance by 3242sqm.

But the panel was sat­is­fied the vis­ual im­pact on the build­ing would have mi­nor ef­fects on its res­i­den­tial neigh­bours, es­pe­cially once plants were in place to soften its ap­pear­ance.

Also, pro­vid­ing beds for older mem­bers of the com­mu­nity was a pos­i­tive ef­fect of the project, the panel said.

The project re­ceived five ob­jec­tions from neigh­bours who were con­cerned about the project’s size and ap­pear­ance, the lack of park­ing and in­creased traf­fic, noise dur­ing con­struc­tion and the ef­fect on prop­erty val­ues.

Three ob­jec­tors are con­sid­er­ing an ap­peal to the En­vi­ron­ment Court.

Plumber Neville Glen­nie, who built his house with wife Joyce four years ago, said their re­tire- ment plans have been ru­ined by the ex­ten­sion.

‘‘We’re go­ing to lose money on our prop­erty,’’ he said. ‘‘I re­tire in five years. I bought this land as an in­vest­ment for my­self, to sell in five years and move into a smaller house. That’s kind of ru­ined now be­cause of this eye­sore next to us.’’

The new build­ing will loom above their back garden, de­stroy­ing their pri­vacy, Mr Glen­nie said.

‘‘It’s just go­ing to be so over­bear­ing. If they down- sized it quite a lot we’d be happy with it.’’

Ob­jec­tors were given just five days to pre­pare for Novem­ber’s hear­ing, and lacked the money and ex­per­tise to take on Bupa, Mr Glen­nie said.

‘‘We were like the lit­tle boys against all th­ese peo­ple from Tau- ranga with all th­ese so­lic­i­tors and engi­neers. We’re just av­er­age peo­ple, we haven’t got ex­perts. Nor­mal peo­ple like us haven’t got a dog’s show against th­ese peo­ple, they’ve got so much money.’’

Fel­low An­tipodes Ln res­i­dent Mike Fox is fu­ri­ous a build­ing which breaches so many District Plan rules has been al­lowed.

He built his house four years ago on the un­der­stand­ing there would be houses on neigh­bour­ing sec­tions.

‘‘I don’t be­lieve the District Plan pro­vides any pro­tec­tion to the res­i­dents of Porirua City,’’ he said. ‘‘ They’ve bent all the rules to al­low this.’’

Bupa de­clined to com­ment to Kapi-Mana News un­til the three­week ap­peal pe­riod fin­ishes.

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