Birkenhead library gets green light

TUMBLING DOWN: Demolition work on Birkenhead library in July 2005. Library users are unlikely to see a new library until late 2009. The Environment Court has given the go-ahead for a new Birkenhead library on Nell Fisher Reserve but it is not expected to open until late 2009.

Abraham Holdings, which owns the Rawene Chambers building, opposite the reserve, lodged the Environment Court appeal.

The appeal challenged an independent commissioners’ decision to approve the rezoning of reserve land so a library could be built.

North Shore City Council library services manager Geoff Chamberlain is pleased the appeal has now been heard and a judgement in favour of the council announced.

“There has been a library on Nell Fisher Reserve for more than 50 years and it’s the ideal place for it.

“The new purpose-built library will provide a vital community focal point in Birkenhead’s civic centre and it’s a facility that will be hugely popular with the local community,” says Mr Chamberlain.

The Birkenhead library project has suffered long delays. Demoliton of the old library had already started in 2005 when independent commissioners declined the resource consent for the project.

The library, Plunket and the Citizens Advice Bureau have been working from cramped temporary premises.

Birkenhead library and civic centre project manager Sharron Cleghorn says the council is now working with its architects to redesign the building.

Ms Cleghorn says preliminary work indicates the council should be able to build within the new zoning requirements.

The council is keen to keep the planning process as straight-forward as possible, particularly after the delays, she says.

The appeal decision restricts the building’s height at the back corner to 9 metres rather than 11 metres to protect views from a neighbouring building, she says.

A total of $6.5 million is provided in the council’s 2006-16 city plan for the capital costs of the new building and these will be revisited after detailed design work.

The building is also planned to house a Citizens Advice Bureau, Highbury Plunket and the Birkenhead area office.

Credits

Photo/s by: MIKE KNOTT
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – The North Shore Times

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