Residents seek battle funds as institute moves to cut up campus for 1400 new homes.

Plans to turn a sprawling Auckland campus into suburban real estate are running into stiff local opposition.

Home-owners near Unitec's 53ha Mt Albert/Pt Chevalier site have started fundraising to hire a traffic engineer and other experts to fight a $250 million project which could create 1400 new residences.

Louise Newman, who lives in quiet Laurel St off Springleigh Ave, is worried about extra traffic from the new properties.

"Unitec plans to open up our small cul de sac roads. Traffic will flow through these and on to Woodward Rd. To have this go ahead would be devastating," she said.

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Mt Albert Residents Association flyers encouraged people to use the Givealittle site to help fund experts to fight the plans.

Unitec says it must make major changes in how it uses the land. Residential development makes sense, it says, and it needs only 7ha of its site, squeezing down the eastern end. It has one of the largest development opportunities in Auckland and a rare chance to create a high-quality, dynamic, urban environment and a lasting legacy for the city, it says.

"Currently we are operating from 177 buildings spread over 53.5ha, making it extremely difficult to effectively use modern teaching methods and technology. Many of these buildings are not fit for purpose and in some cases are very expensive to maintain," the institution says.

Changes will allow it to address the seismic risks of many older buildings, Unitec says.

"As a highly connected site near the centre of the city, the precinct would benefit from significant developments in the road, rail and bus networks and has a likely estimated 1400 dwellings.

"Around 1100 of these would be on Unitec's current land with further development available on the sites currently used by the Mason Clinic, Taylor's Laundry and land owned by Ngati Whatua," Unitec says.

Phil Twyford, Labour's housing spokesman, welcomed Unitec's plans.

"From what I have seen, I'm supportive of it in principle. There're a lot of things that stack up pretty well.

"They want to build a residential community on the campus to enhance Unitec, with a mix of affordable housing. But there's an issue about transport - you don't just spill congestion," he said.

Unitec has formed the Wairaka Land Company to work with developers.

See a Google map of the Unitec site here: