Heritage site apartments denounced

UNITED FRONT: Food critic Annabelle White, left, residents association member Warwick Jones, lawyer Bruce Stainton, and resident Carol Scott are among those opposing a proposed Birkenhead apartment block.UNITED FRONT: Food critic Annabelle White, left, residents association member Warwick Jones, lawyer Bruce Stainton, and resident Carol Scott are among those opposing a proposed Birkenhead apartment block.

People from TV cooks to North Shore’s mayor have joined forces to denounce apartment plans in a Birkenhead heritage area.

A resource consent hearing on a proposed 18 apartment and four office development at 83 Hinemoa St was adjourned on May 2.

There were 500 submitters against the development plans, including about half of the 800 local residents, says Shore mayor Andrew Williams.

None were in favour.

Among those who spoke at the hearing were well-known food critic and broadcaster Annabelle White, Carter Holt Harvey director Fraser Whineray, heritage architect Jeremy Salmond and mayor Andrew Williams.

Ms White rejected the proposed development as too high, too dominant and out of keeping with the surrounding heritage area.

She called the building “an ugly visual pollutant where something tasteful could have been proposed. Wrong style, wrong materials, wrong time period, wrong size.”

Mr Williams backed her case as an expert witness on heritage areas.

He says he does not want the apartment block to be approved during his time as mayor.

The application is only possible because of an anomaly in the district plan that saw the site zoned for business, he says.

“We only get one shot at this. We have to act now to preserve our heritage areas.”

Respected heritage architect Mr Salmond spoke against the development on behalf of Birkenhead Residents Association.

He said the proposed building does not fit with the heritage character of Birkenhead Pt and has an “uncomfortably slab-like appearance”.

The apartment design was classified as “modern non-descript” and its dimensions were described as too dominant.

Developer Aptus Projects, which is owned by Richard Beca, defended the apartment and office block plans.

Its contractor Lisa Mein of Boffa Miskell said the block fits with the “seven c’s”
of essential design qualities.

She maintains it’s in the right context, has good character, provides people choice, connects residents, has a creative design, takes good custody of the land and is a product of collaborative design.

“I am satisfied that
either building would create a landmark on the street and would make a positive contribution.”

Traffic engineers and a resource consent expert also supported the apartment proposal.

Aptus Projects first applied to put 20 apartments at 83 Hinemoa St in 2005, but withdrew its plans after 440 people submitted against them.

Credits

Photo/s by: BEN CAMPBELL/North Shore Times
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times

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