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Property editor of the NZ Herald

Hundreds oppose Ryman in Devonport, hearing looms

Hearing into Ryman proposal to be held early next month

A new retirement village planned on Auckland's North Shore has drawn hundreds of opposing submissions and a hearing has been scheduled for early next month.

Simon Challies, Ryman Healthcare chief executive and managing director, gave an update today on plans for the big new Devonport village saying "hundreds" of submissions had been received.

He told the Herald how Ryman could build more units under the unitary plan, that the project would fit in with the neighbourhood and that the scheme's effects would not be any more than minor and certainly less than a non-retirement apartment development.

Locals have strongly opposed the project which Auckland Council notified due to non-complying aspects which means submissions can be made. Local objections include the appearance of the six-story project, its dominance, bulk, scale, traffic generation, lack of relationship to surroundings and absence of effective landscaping to mitigate visual dominance.

Grey Power opposes the project, saying it is simply too big, but Challies said today the community needed it.

A hearing before independent commissioners begins on Monday December 5 around 9am at the council's Takapuna offices on The Strand and is set down for four days.

Ryman has applied to build 195 independent living apartments, 120 hospital or care beds and 78 serviced care suites on the ex-navy Wakakura site on the corner of Lake Rd and Ngataringa Rd, overlooking Ngataringa Bay between Devonport and Belmont.

Andrew Mitchell, Ryman development manager, said 305 submissions had been lodged against the proposal with Auckland Council, 73 submissions were supportive and 14 were neutral.

The number of opposing submissions was less than initially expected, Mitchell said.

Financial analysts sought an update on the project at a half-year results briefing in Auckland this morning and asked about opposition to the scheme. Challies indicated confidence in it.

A report by consulting planner Brooke Dales recommended the project be approved with only minor modifications. That report will go to the independent hearings panel.

- NZ Herald

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