Slum-like or welcomed? Takapuna development divides residents
A 53-unit development proposed for a three-house site in Auckland's Takapuna has been described by opponents as a "slum-like" plan to jam in residents "like sardines".
But the opponents, in turn, have been described as Nimbys trying to block much-needed housing from being built.
And North Shore residents on the streets of Takapuna are unfazed by the development, saying it is inevitable and welcomed.
The development, proposed by the McLeod Family Trust and Coxley Hall, is for two five-storey apartment blocks in Tennyson Ave, connected with pedestrian walkways and featuring a roof garden.
The developers already have consent for a four-storey, 44-unit development on the site, but decided to apply for an additional floor, in part due to the partially operative Auckland Unitary Plan being more lenient than previous rules.
However, despite the leniency, the proposal does not comply with height restrictions, parking requirements and requirements for light in the lower, inner bedrooms.
Susan Wann, a member of Takapuna Action Group, said everybody should be concerned about the extra height and lack of parking.
Sixteen of the units will have no car park at all and Tennyson Ave already has no spare car parks during the day.
Wann is concerned the development will be "like a slum", with the lack of sunlight indicative of the plan to "intensify and pack them all in like sardines".
"To me, it's incredible, against human rights, to not have a decent place to live, to have all the sunlight taken away because the building is too close to the next building," she said.
"Why should it be allowed to go ahead against the unitary plan? It's there for a purpose, to protect people's rights to a decent environment."
The Takapuna Action Group will be putting in an objection against the proposal, Wann said.
But Connal Townsend, chief executive of the Property Council, said residents should expect the unitary plan rules to be challenged, saying that is what the Resource Management Act process is for.
"Anyone is entitled to go beyond what's permitted and that's why we go through the resource consent process."
Speaking in general terms, Townsend said apartment blocks are needed in Auckland to meet the "ridiculous" housing demand, unless New Zealand adopts a "North Korea approach" and stops people moving where they want to.
Takapuna is a "perfect node" for more development, Townsend said, although he admitted infrastructure needs to keep pace with the growth.
On the streets of Takapuna, residents were welcoming and unconcerned about the development.
Zach McGrath from Mairangi Bay said he liked the proposal.
"I like the fact it's got a roof garden and it's quite art deco. If it was a tower, I would be quite against it."
McGrath said he would buy an apartment in the new development, if he could afford it, but expects he won't be able to.
"[Takapuna] is at the extreme end of the market. It's a beautiful place - I'm from here but I can't afford here."
Daniel Huata from Birkdale said the development had good and bad points.
"It's a big influx of people but, at the same time, it creates jobs."
The painter said he wouldn't live in the development, as he prefers houses.
Fuki Takeuchi from Beach Haven said the proposed development was the way Takapuna was heading.
"I'm not surprised; land is very expensive and Takapuna is a premium area."
Takeuchi said she would be upset if the development was proposed for the beach but was not worried due to where it was.
Simone Nordstrom from Forrest Hill said she was unsure if she supported the development.
"It depends on price and who would fit in there," she said.
Nordstrom acknowledged there was a housing crisis and a lack of accommodation for students, but she expected the proposed development would be too expensive for students.