Submitters opposed to the Chelsea Sugar Refinery plan change will get a second chance to have their views heard because hearing commissioners say an article in the New Zealand Herald could have been misinterpreted.
North Shore City Council’s spokesman Trevor Mackie says that the four-day hearing in February was adjourned rather than closed because independent commissioners wanted the opportunity to notify additional submitters.
The issue was raised by a number of submitters that the article in the Herald led the community to believe that the plan change was off and that they didn’t need to go the hearing, says Mr Mackie.
Chelsea Sugar Refinery is seeking a change to the North Shore City Council’s district plan to allow it to develop the site if the refinery closed.
The land is zoned Business 9 for industrial activities. The owners are asking for an amendment to the district plan, which would allow for the development of residential and small-scale business activities.
The plan change is still being requested but Chelsea made amendments to its proposal before the hearing and withdrew more detailed plans, but it still includes plans to build 528 units on 15 hectares of waterfront land where the refinery currently operates.
The council will be sending letters out to more than 600 submitters to notify them of the latest revisions and to give those who didn’t
get a chance to speak an opportunity to do so.
Many submissions expressed concern about the effect the development would have on the historical site.
In December 2005 the Chelsea Park Trust entered a conditional agreement for the sale of the remaining 37ha of the land that the refinery would not build on.
The trust has secured $20 million for the land for a regional park, with $10m coming from North Shore City Council, but it is conditional on
Chelsea Sugar Refinery receiving .a “satisfactory planning outcome”.
Speakers at the hearing included representatives from the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, Chelsea Park Trust, New Zealand Historic Places Trust,
North Shore City Council, Birkenhead Residents Association, Auckland Regional Council and individual submitters from the area.
The independent commissioners at the hearing included lawyer Michael Savage, who also chaired the Long Bay and Birkenhead library hearings, Terry Brown, a transportation and traffic expert and Jenny Hudson a planning consultant.
We thank Kim Reed and North Shore Times, for permission to reprint this article in full.
Written by: Kim Reed
Reprinted with permission: North Shore Times