INDEPENDENT NEWS

Opposition spreads to housing proposal

Published: Wed 18 Oct 2006 10:31 AM
Opposition spreads to sugar refinery housing proposal
Media release from:The Birkenhead Residents Association
Opposition to plans by Chelsea Sugar Refinery to create high-rise, high-density housing development on its coastal property have now spread across the Waitemata Harbour – with an Auckland City community board lodging its objections to the scheme.
The Western Bays Community Board - which encompasses some of the north/western suburbs of Auckland City - has thrown its weight behind the already sizeable tide of objections to Chelsea’s proposed tower block development of the historic Birkenhead site.
More than 500 objections have so far been laid against Chelsea’s intensive housing application-including objections from both North Shore City Council and the Auckland Regional Council, alongside protests from ecological groups, historical societies and cultural organisations.
Western Bays Community Board chairman and planning representative Graeme Easte said Chelsea’s high-rise tower plans were raised as “a matter of urgency” at the board’s September meeting.
“The Chelsea Sugar Refinery site is a prominent part of the outlook from the beaches and coastal properties of Western Bays Ward and from parts of St. Mary’s Bay, Herne Bay, Grey Lynn, Westmere and Point Chevalier. Partial views exist up to 2.7 kilometres inland to parts of the Great North Road ridge in Grey Lynn,” Mr Easte said.
“Beyond the western bays ward there are also views from parts of the inner city, the heights
of Western Springs, along the North Western Motorway (SH16) causeway and Te Atatu (from Harbour View Reserve and south).
“Additionally, there are those parts of the western bars ward - without a direct view of the Chelsea factory building which benefit from views of the long green swathe of forested ridges running from the Chelsea site west to Kauri Point Domain.
“The Western Bays Community Board urges that piecemeal planning of this precious asset be resisted, and that strategic planning of the whole area be considered as a comprehensive and integrated exercise. For these reasons the plan change should be rejected in its entirety,” Mr Easte concluded.
Birkenhead Residents Association president Harvey White said that securing support from the Western Bays Community Board on the other side of the harbour showed that that Chelsea Sugar Refinery’s plans to desecrate the historic site and associated green space around the refinery had quickly become an Auckland issue.
“Chelsea’s plans to build more than 500 accommodation units in Birkenhead would cause massive congestion to the North Shore’s already congested roading network. And for our neighbours on the other side of the Waitemata Harbour, the proposed concrete monstrosities would not only be a visual eyesore, but would rip the lungs our of this ecologically important green belt,” Mr White said.
“I am sure that other community organisations and representative bodies from the city-side of Auckland will come oppose Chelsea’s proposal as word of this planned horrendous housing intensification continues to spread,” Mr White concluded.
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