Monday, April 22, 2024

Viewshaft victory for Stockade Hill

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Views from Stockade Hill. Photo Gayleen Mackereth

Auckland Council has thrown its weight behind protecting the views from Stockade Hill.

The move, a victory for the vociferous and dedicated supporters of the Howick Ratepayers and Residents Assocation (HRRA), has seen council put forward a change to the Auckland Unitary Plan (called proposed plan change 3) that seeks to protect views of Rangitoto, Hauraki gulf and the Islands from a public open space — Stockade Hill, Howick.

In a notification released today by council’s John Duguid, manager — plans & places , the plan change proposes to delete an existing local public viewshaft that originates from the base of Stockade Hill and introduce a new viewshaft and a building height restriction area into the Local Public Views Overlay that originates from the top of Stockade Hill.

“In accordance with Section 86B (3) of the RMA (Resource Management Act) the proposed plan change rules have immediate legal effect.

Submissions on the proposed change close on September 7.

Meanwhile, the HRRA is pleased council has “at last moved to put into place viewshaft protection for our outstanding views from Stockade Hill”.

“It  has taken a year of writing, an expensive High Court battle , meetings with Council Planners over Stockade Hill and official reports plus many hours spent collecting signatures online and in the street from the public in support of this protection  ( 6500 signatures ) to get this result,” said HRRA chair Gayleen Mackereth.

“HRRA is very grateful for the support of Howick and Pakuranga Times to help raise public awareness over the issue.”

An HRRA campaign run with the Times to raise funds for the legal battle raised more than $31,400.

“There is still a way to go to go re the Plan Change and we are disappointed that the Mixed Housing Urban zoning is likely to remain,” said

“But  Howick residents can heave a huge sigh of relief that the Plan Change means council supports that this view is significant and important to Howick and its community and that it needs and deserves to be protected.”

Councillors Dick Quax and Sharon Stewart have expressed satisfaction with a proposed plan change to protect the views from Stockade Hill.

“A report to council acknowledges that Stockade Hill is a significant heritage site and the Landscape Architect engaged by council noted that Stockade Hill provided 360 degree views,” the councillors said in a joint statement to the Times.

“However, the views to the west and southwest are constrained by existing vegetation. The report recommends that the views out to Rangitoto, Motukorea (Browns Island), Motutapu, Motuihe, Waiheke and Motukaraka as well as Musick Point and Beachlands be protected.”

Cr Stewart said that while the proposed plan change is not everything she had hoped for, it is a major win for the community.

“I had hoped that the recommendation might have been for the 360 degree view protection but I have read the report and believe that the most important views have been protected.”

Cr Quax acknowledged that while some in the community might be disappointed with the recommendations, overall he was satisfied with the report.

“I want to acknowledge the tremendous effort by the community, and in particular (HRRA chair) Gayleen Mackereth to protect these views from inappropriate development that would deprived the community of a priceless amenity,” he said.

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