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Upset over church's 'agressive' antics

EMMA WHITTAKER
Last updated 05:00 08/10/2014
Car park
Jess Etheridge

COMING DOWN: A Calgary St property is cleared to make way for a car park.

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Houses on the site of a proposed car park have been bowled despite protests.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Kiwitea St, Sandringham, is seeking consent from the Auckland Council to build a 68-space car park on two connecting residential properties on Calgary St.

A decision is yet to be made by the council but consent was not needed to remove two houses on the site and they were demolished late last week.

"We were pretty shocked. It makes a joke of the church saying they're trying to be neighbourly," Calgary St resident Stu Sontier said.

"It feels like the church is behaving like an arrogant corporate bully rather than a neighbour," he said.

Many residents have objected to the proposal since its announcement last year, citing concerns about the security of the site and its appearance.

Only a limited number of neighbours have been able to make formal submissions to the council on the plans.

Neighbours are now questioning what will become of the site if the car park doesn't get the go-ahead.

But the church is "pretty confident" consent will be granted, church spokesman Anthony Wilson said.

"We certainly believe we have valid reasons for it to go through," he said.

The empty houses were in a bad state and the church was worried they would attract vandals.

The church is trying to limit the impact of the development on those living nearby, Wilson said.

Part of Calgary St is designated as a general special character area in the Proposed Unitary Plan.

The protections are yet to come into force.

The rest of the street is part of a historic heritage area, along with southern part of Pine St, a small section of Dominion Rd and Halesowen Ave.

This is one of the highest heritage protections available.

Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes is disappointed that the church decided to remove the houses.

"It's poor neighbour relations," he said.

Board member Helga Arlington lives on Calgary St.

"It seems [the church] is being rather aggressive," she said.

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