Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Residents appalled at go-ahead for mega-store

Arch Hill residents protest outside the Auckland Council's Civic Building. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Arch Hill residents protest outside the Auckland Council's Civic Building. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Arch Hill residents have been left stunned by yesterday's decision to allow a Bunnings store in their neighbourhood, saying they fear for the future of the area.

Arch Hill Residents Society committee member David Batten said a meeting was planned to discuss their next step after the group spent about $40,000 on expert witnesses and evidence for the case, which went to independent hearing commissioners.

"We feel we've had to raise and spend a considerable amount of funds to date defending the indefensible," Mr Batten said yesterday, telling how the money was raised at a street party, through loans and donations.

"The concern we have is that we've already had to spend this money. We feel we should never have had to do that anyway," he said.

Going to the Environment Court is now the group's only chance stop the Bunnings development but Mr Batten said he was reluctant to talk about specifics before the group had met and agreed on the way forward.

Commissioners chaired by Greg Hill granted consent for the Bunnings retail store on the site between Great North Rd, King St and Dean St, saying the building met design criteria and would contribute to a diverse and compatible mix of activities.

It would enable the development of the area as a vibrant urban space, the decision said.

Adverse aspects included visual and dominance effects, additional traffic, noise, vibration and other construction-related effects. However, the commissioners decided the building was a very different type of Bunnings to the standard warehouse and trading times and days had been limited.

The shop will be 8430sq m and have a cafe, outdoor garden nursery, office areas, timber trade sales area, building and plumbing supplies and timber and joinery materials.

A significant amount of excavation is needed, taking 22,200cu m of material from the site, the decision said.

"This proposal has a number of positive effects. The site is currently under-utilised and in a relatively poor state," commissioners said. The warehouse would employ 120 people.

- NZ Herald

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