Ryman Healthcare this month opened a new Birkenhead retirement village, while legal opposition estimated to cost $75,000 grows to its Devonport plans.

The Bert Sutcliffe village on Rangatira Rd was opened at the start of the month, around the same time New Zealand Institute of Architects' Auckland branch and civic lobby group Urban Auckland joined an Environment Court appeal against Ryman's Wakakura proposal on Ngataringa Rd.

The new Birkenhead village was named after the late North Shore cricketer who attended Takapuna Grammar. It was developed on the former Fernz Lodge site. Simon Challies, Ryman managing director, said the site was ideal because it looked out over Kauri Point.

"We designed it to take advantage of the natural contours and maximise the views, without dominating the neighbourhood," Challies said.

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Residents from about 400 single dwelling would move into the village and the area was struggling from a housing shortage, he said.

Iain Rea of the Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society welcomed additional parties to the court action, saying the society represented more than 300 locals.

"This shows that we are not alone in our concern over the Ryman scheme and its ramifications for development in Auckland through the Unitary Plan," Rea said of the two new groups joining the litigation.

"We are not opposed to retirement housing, or more intense development on this site, but Ryman's proposed complex is not at all sympathetic to its surroundings. A project of this magnitude has to be planned with sensitivity and care, because it will be a significant intervention, not just in a place with a strong character but also in a coastal environment that is an important asset for the whole city," Rea said.

The Ngataringa Bay Action Group, now the Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society, protested against Ryman's Wakakura scheme. Photo/Jason Oxenham
The Ngataringa Bay Action Group, now the Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society, protested against Ryman's Wakakura scheme. Photo/Jason Oxenham

"The Ryman scheme is simply not good enough or smart enough for Auckland in the second decade of the twenty-first century."