Fletcher gets go-ahead for Ihumatao special housing area

Hundreds of people created a human chain around the special housing area in March to protest the development.

Hundreds of people created a human chain around the special housing area in March to protest the development.

Locals are vowing to keep fighting a controversial special housing area after it received the go-ahead from commissioners.

Fletcher Residential has received permission to build 480 homes next to the protected Otuataua Stonefields reserve in Ihumatao, Mangere.

The Accord Territorial Authority, made up of four commissioners and Franklin Local Board member Murray Kay, made the decision after a series of hearings in February.

It approved the rezoning of the 33ha block on Oruarangi Rd from future urban to a mixture of mixed housing suburban, public open space-conservation and green infrastructure corridor.

It also approved consents for subdivision and land use.

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The community group Save Our Unique Landscape has been fighting the development since plans were announced.

Spokesman Brendan Corbett says members were not surprised by the decision.

"It's not changing our plans and we're still totally committed to stopping the destruction of this beautiful area."

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith has met the group and suggested members approach Fletcher, Corbett says.

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"One possible solution is we purchase the land. It's a matter of making sure Fletcher has some goodwill toward us and is prepared to come to some sort of financial agreement."

Fletcher's lawyer Sue Simons says the company acknowledges the site's history of Maori occupation and the project will recognise the "cultural values and associations with the area".

It will retain the lava caves and the 1920s 'Kintyre' house inside the development area and create a buffer zone to protect the burial caves and some of the stone walls.

The authority's decision noted there was a lack of infrastructure in the area, particularly public transport services, but it was "satisfied that regular bus services could be introduced". 

Reticulated stormwater and wastewater systems will be created within the development.

Makaurau Marae Trust chairman and Te Kawerau Iwi Tribal Authority executive chairman Te Warena Taua spoke in favour of the development at the February hearings, saying it would create more affordable housing for the people of Ihumatao.

"There are at least 200 families who could come back and live in the village. We've had children who could not be brought up here because there's no room."

 - Stuff

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