Development causes a stir in Beachlands

Around 16.38 hectare of prime property is earmarked for immediate development and it has upset a lot of Beachlands residents.

Located at 109 Beachlands Road, the site within the Beachlands Village Avenues Plan Change 30 area is adjacent to the commercial zone containing the Countdown supermarket and the recently built Pohutukawa Shopping Centre.

In accordance with the Auckland Unitary Plan, the site is zoned Residential Single House Zone, Beachlands 1 Precint– under the Plan Change and a scheme plan has determined up to 100 lots may be produced although through further consents, there may be the potential to “provide more yield and enhance the value”, says the New Zealand Southeby’s International Realty website promoting the property.

“A natural elevation of the property allows for some sites to acquire stunning panoramic views with both sea and urban outlooks,” the site says.

The property is to be sold by tender (closes December 7), has caused an uproar in the Beachlands community.

Locals believe the site is an ideal location for a much-needed high school or an intermediate school or retirement village and feel let down that Auckland Council has zoned it residential.

Heated discussions on a community website suggest nearly 1000 students are bussing it to Howick from the coast.

More houses mean more revenues for the council without having to do anything, say locals.

“A retirement village would be ideal, so the older generation of Beachlands, don’t have to leave the village they most probably grew up in,” says one of the residents.

Another post says: “They are already squeezing two classes in the library at Beachlands School owing to not enough space and new residences aren’t being zoned for Beachlands cos they can’t fit them in by all accounts. Crazy situation. New schools for all ages needed to handle the growth. Not more houses.”

There are concerns about the two-lane road to Beachlands. “Still have a two lane road, yet traffic has more than doubled! Not to mention lack of maintenance either. “

Real estate agent Paul Hebditch of New Zealand Southeby’s International Realty who is promoting the property says the council-driven plan change has zoned the property as residential.

“The land is over 16 hectares and there is public space allocated for a recreation reserve. In the scheme plan drawn up by engineers, there are 100 lots of residential sections, sized 800-1000 square meters.”

Mr Hebditch says that with the land being zoned residential, there could be a provision for a school if the Ministry of Education deems it fit.

“A retirement village can also be put up in a residential zone,” he says.

“This is a desirable piece of land and there is a good public rationale in the community desiring good public amenities,” he concedes.

Andrew Bayly, MP for Hunua, says nothing much can be done if the land is owned privately.

“You can’t tell people what should be done with their property.  It’s not our job to tell someone who owns a private property to put up a school or force them to build a retirement village.”

About residents wanting a new school in Beachlands he says, “This is a long-running issue and though I have been pushing for a new school for the last couple of years, we can’t have a one unless there is a consistent and continuous growth in population.

“There have been three new secondary schools established and 10 new classrooms added to Beachlands School to accommodate more students.”