Unitary Plan battles mainly won for Howick, Howick HRRA Chair says

By: Marianne Kelly

Gayleen Mackereth, who has spear-headed a fight for Howick in Auckland Unitary Plan hearings over the past few months, is pleased to have “protected our precious Howick”.

The view shafts opposite Stockade Hill have not been protected, Howick RRA chair Gayleen Mackereth says. Times file photo Wayne Martin.

The chair of the Howick Residents and Ratepayers Association’s initial reaction to the Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) recommendations to Auckland Council for the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP) released publicly yesterday is mainly positive.

“We have achieved the hard fought battle of keeping Howick a ‘Special Character’ business area and this will have to be documented officially by the council,” Mrs Mackereth told the Times this morning.

Gayleen Mackereth, chairwoman of the Howick Ratepayers and Residents Association. Times photo Wayne Martin.

Other achievements include retaining the ‘single house’ zone in Cockle Bay and preventing the proposed increase in height limits in Howick Town Centre being implemented.

“We are disappointed that the view shafts opposite Stockade Hill have not been protected and we must enjoin our councillors to fight hard in the next few days to have this remedied.

“But overall there has not been too much up-zoning and we are pleased we have protected our precious Howick.”

Mrs Mackereth is also pleased that the so-called Taniwha Tax which the association submitted against has been removed.

The PAUP said that certain resource consents within 50 metres of a boundary of more than 3600 ‘sites and places of value to Mana Whenua’ may be required to obtain a ‘cultural impact assessment’ from any number of Auckland’s 19 iwi groups.

“Howick RRA and my name has been specifically mentioned several times in the report, as has Cockle Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association, which vindicates the long hard battle we have fought,” she says.

One of the significant references in the IHP’s report to the council refers to the fact that Auckland’s typography, site orientation, existing street and subdivision patterns (especially for smaller-scale brownfields redevelopment or infilling) would mean that many potential developments would not be able to comply and many of the standards in the PAUP are not appropriate.

“This will trigger a number of consent applications to justify why particular development standards cannot be met,” the IHP says.

“In this regard the Panel notes the comments of Mrs Mackereth of the Howick Ratepayers and Residents Association who stated that people need to be able to build houses to orient to the sun and views, and that as sites can be steep (either above or below the road) it is not always possible or desirable to orientate houses to the street.”

Consequently the IHP has recommended that a number of development standards in the PAUP be deleted.