Opponents of a controversial new Ryman Healthcare retirement village on Auckland's North Shore have lodged an appeal in the Environment Court to halt the development.
Iain Rea, a neighbour of the proposed six-level Wakakura development and member of the Ngataringa Bay Action Group, this morning announced the move against Ryman, which has a market capitalisation of $4.4 billion.
Consent granted for the development of a large retirement village complex on land on Ngataringa Bay will be appealed in the Environment Court by community lobby group Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society, Rea said.
Simon Challies, Ryman chief executive and managing director, said: "We are obviously disappointed the consent for our new Ngataringa Rd village has been appealed, but we remain absolutely committed to building in Devonport."
"We prepared a robust proposal which received consent, and we are confident we can work through the issues raised in the appeal," he said.
"We have had huge interest in the village from potential residents, and they were delighted when we obtained consent."
Ryman was last month granted consent to build the village between Devonport and Takapuna on a 4.2ha site between Lake Rd and Ngataringa Rd overlooking Ngataringa Bay.
Rea explained the reaction to the non-unanimous independent hearing commissioners' decision issued last month.
"This appeal follows the split decision favouring the development by two of three commissioners when reviewed against Auckland's Unitary Plan. The dissenting commissioner and urban planner, Dave Serjeant noted that 'intensification will generate significant change... (with) likely no public input.' He further wrote, 'It would be unfortunate if the interpretation (of the unitary plan) were seen to support the proliferation of large bulky buildings that have little or no variation in built form'," Rea said.
"On the Devonport peninsula, there are six large sites zoned as precincts. This is the first to be compromised and what happens here could set a precedent allowing hundreds of apartments in large five-storey blocks with no public say. This should be of concern, not just to the residents of Takapuna-Devonport but all Aucklanders. There is no question. The decision must be appealed."
When the decision was issued last month, Rea also warned other Aucklanders to look out.
Ryman got consent to build 195 independent living apartments, a 120 hospital or care beds facility and 78 serviced suites on the site.
Plans show blocks up to six levels high, with basement carparking. The big vacant site once had navy housing on it but is now owned by Ngati Whatua's Whai Rawa commercial arm and Ryman has struck a 150-year lease of the land.
Challies defended the project last year and said the community needed the retirement village.
Local objections included the appearance of the project, its dominance, bulk, scale, traffic generation, its lack of relationship to surroundings and absence of effective landscaping to mitigate visual dominance.