'High-rises not right for area'

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012
High Rises NST
FIGHTING BACK: Milford Residents Association co-chairwomen Debbie Dunsford, left, and Norma Bott. The association is raising fears about intensification proposals.

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Allowing apartments up to eight storeys high in Milford is a step too far for the low key village with few community facilities, residents say.

Milford, Glenfield, Northcote and Birkenhead are among town centre proposed for six to eight-storey apartments.

But Milford Residents Association has told Auckland Council it doesn't want Milford to go that high.

Milford association spokeswoman Debbie Dunsford says the other town centres have multiple community facilities provided by the council like libraries, leisure and community centres.

"Milford has not got one," she says.

Streets surrounding the Milford town centre are also earmarked for up to six-storey development but anything higher than four storeys would affect surrounding houses, Ms Dunsford says.

The association says this zone extends part way along Shakespeare, Kitchener and Milford roads, taking in side roads like Sylvan Park Ave, Otakau Rd, Omana Rd and the south sides of Rangitoto and Prospect terraces.

The proposals are being considered as Auckland Council prepares its new development rulebook, the Unitary Plan.

"At this stage, we accept the reassurances that communities will be listened to and will work positively with council to ensure changes in Milford are sympathetic and do not spoil our low key and livable community," the association says.

"However, we also need to hold council politicians and planners to their word about the plan being community-led."

Shore councillor Ann Hartley says eight storeys would be an upper limit and applicants would have to jump through a large number of hoops to get approval.

Issues like height in relation to boundary, location, bulk and shadowing would all be taken into account, Ms Hartley says. This might mean a site in the middle of a mall might be the only location that could be approved, she says.

"There will a lot of rules and restrictions about urban design. Tools that we have not had before."

Any development would also have to appropriately located so for example a six storey apartment block didn't sit alongside a suburban house, she says.

Mrs Hartley says community facilities are always reviewed as areas develop.

Feedback has started early because a draft Unitary Plan has been prepared and is already out for consultation with stakeholders, she says.

The draft plan isn't officially released until March.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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