Sky-high skyline part of city plan

High rise shopping centres and apartments could be on the cards for some parts of Ellerslie, Glen Innes and Panmure in future planning for the area.

Auckland Council's draft Unitary Plan is in its preliminary stage of development and consultation started earlier this month.

Having created the Auckland Plan, which is council's vision for the city over the next 30 years, the Unitary Plan is designed to be the tool to implement that vision over the next 10 years.

The Unitary Plan will take over from 12 existing regional and district plans, some of which are more than a decade old.

One proposal in the plan sees the introduction of terraced housing and apartment zones in larger east Auckland town centres close to busy public transport routes.

The proposal would permit housing developments of up to six storeys (21 metres).

Mixed residential and business buildings could reach up to 30 metres with special consents in areas like Sylvia Park. Maungakiekie - Tamaki Local Board has already hosted two key stakeholder workshops to gather feedback on the changes. Feedback will be used in the board's submission on the draft.

Glen Innes Housing Trust member Peter Wilson attended the Glen Innes workshop.

"I'd like to see measures put in place to control traffic and parking flows. There will be more people living in the area with children and there might be fewer places for them to play. We don't want them to have nowhere to go so they play on the roads," he says.

Some residents raised concerns about the quality of designs for terraced houses and also providing a mix of affordable and high-end accommodation options in the town centre.

Council had hoped to be able to push the plan through without the usual appeal process, claiming that legal wranglings can delay things by up to 10 years.

The Government has allowed the process to be sped up considerably but there will still be a three-year period in which an independent panel can consider public submissions.

Auckland deputy mayor Penny Hulse is keen to see the process happen quickly.

"This change is significant for Auckland and New Zealand as a whole. As the country's biggest city and economic powerhouse, we simply cannot afford delays to something that will have a huge impact on our ability to build the mix of homes we desperately need, to grow our economy and to protect our environment and heritage."

A discussion draft will be released to the public for informal feedback from March to June 2013. After incorporating feedback, a proposed Unitary Plan will go to the council in September 2013 for a decision on notification and formal public consultation.

Aucklanders are invited to discuss the planning rules that will shape the city in an online forum, open until November 7.

Go to aucklandcouncil. to take part before November 7, or contact your local board office.

East And Bays Courier