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Marina housing debate continues

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 05:00 12/11/2013
Harbour Views
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WHAT A VIEW: An aerial view shows the spectacular harbour views from Bayswater Marina.

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Plans for up to 125 apartments and town houses at Bayswater Marina may be knocked back.

Owner Simon Herbert hopes the proposals will meet new planning rules.

But Shore councillor Chris Darby says 125 dwellings is considerably more than he thinks possible under the draft Unitary Plan. He says the numbers are "a surprise".

Mr Darby took a leading role in a long battle against intensive housing at the marina that ended with an Environment Court victory in 2009.

But he lobbied Auckland Council in September this year to support moves that appear to relax rules about housing there. In this year's election he also stood on the Shore Future ticket for the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board with developer Dave Donaldson.

Mr Donaldson, who was unsuccessful in winning a seat, confirms he will invest in the Bayswater development if it goes ahead. Mr Darby says his views towards housing at the marina haven't changed and public interest is protected by requiring public comment on any application.

The draft Unitary Plan proposes housing become a discretionary activity with full notification.

Buildings would be limited to 15 per cent of the marina reclamation and Mr Darby says marine businesses and recreation have priority. Housing is well down on the list, he says.

Bayswater Marina's magnificent harbour views are indisputable but debate continues whether housing should be allowed.

Owner Simon Herbert says he's listened to community concern and scaled back earlier proposals for 250 units to a maximum of 125. A marina village on the 3.5 hectares can increase public waterfront access, Mr Herbert says.

But Bayswater Community Committee chairwoman Gay Richards is sceptical. Offers including a waterfront boardwalk and new northern beach are "lovely things" but there's no guarantee they'll occur, Ms Richards says.

She says the marina should remain for purposes it was reclaimed for in the 1990s - marine facilities, recreation and public open space.

Mr Herbert says residential use wasn't originally sought in the 1990s but it can only increase access to the waterfront.

Industrial-style marine activity and boat storage is an ugly alternative that would hinder public access, Mr Herbert says. He also owns Westpark Marina that has extensive boat servicing facilities.

Any development without housing would reduce the quality of public space that could be provided, he says.

The marina company, which has a 105-year lease issued by the Crown in 2006, has employed Construkt Architects who have also worked at Long Bay and Hobsonville Pt.

Mr Herbert hopes the development will include three-storey terraced houses and apartments, a cafe, restaurant, marine chandlery and a small number of shops.

The compulsory 15-metre coastal access strip could be extended to provide greater waterfront access, he says.

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