Apartment block declined

A resounding “no” verdict has been delivered on apartment block plans for Birkenhead’s heritage zone.

Independent commissioners turned down a controversial application for 18 apartments and four businesses at 83 Hinemoa St last week.

They say the Aptus Projects development would have adverse effects which could not be “avoided, remedied or mitgated”.

Its design fails to produce a functional building despite efforts to comply with the district plan, their statement says. The decision flies in the face of North Shore City Council officers who supported Aptus Projects’
plans.

Birkenhead Residents Association member Carol Scott says it reflects poorly on the council.

It has been ill-served by the officers saying the effects of the application would be “minor”, she says.

“Hundreds of locals gave time and money to all pull together and fight for what they believe is in the best interests for the area.

“A victory for the community.”

Developer Richard Beca says he is “extremely disappointed” with the decision and is considering appealing to the Environment Court.

It is very unusual for commissioners to go against the recommendations of so many council officers, he says.

“They have found against expert evidence without countering expert evidence. It’s going to be hard for us not to challenge that.”

He worked with the council from 2005 to develop the application and employed the services of several planners.

“Where they told us to change things, we changed them. When you’ve got positive reports from council, what else do you have to do?”

North Shore mayor Andrew Williams says he is delighted the development has been declined.

It would have caused carparking and traffic woes and was ill suited to the heritage area it was in, he says.

Aptus Projects applied for 20 apartments at the former Hinemoa St petrol station in 2005 but withdrew it after 440 residents submitted in opposition.

A revived 18-apartment application again drew widespread condemnation in 2007.

More than 500 submitted against it, including heritage architect Jeremy Salmond, North Shore mayor Andrew Williams and TV chef Annabelle White.

Mr Beca requested an adjournment to the hearing to again revise his design, but that has now been turned down.

Credits

Written by: HAYDEN DONNELL
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times

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