Let us alone, Puhoi tells planners

By Wayne Thompson

Historic Puhoi village has a message for Auckland Super City leaders: Leave Puhoi out of urban growth plans.

"It's what we haven't got that makes us special," says a vision statement from the community of 1300 in the rolling countryside off State Highway 1, 12km north of Orewa.

That wish influences a draft structure plan which Rodney District Council is putting out for public discussion for a month from next Monday.

The aim is to form a plan which tightens control on development in the historic precinct of the 1860s Bohemian village and its rural hinterland.

It will go to the Auckland Council with a recommendation that it be given legal clout by being written into the district plan.

The draft proposes no change to existing opportunities in the district plan for subdivision and development.

It notes that developer Prime Resources' proposal to create 240 building sites in forestry to the north of the Puhoi catchment received Environment Court consent in January.

Stronger guidelines are urged to stop inappropriate development and activities from spoiling the character of the village and its setting of riverside, farms, lifestyle blocks and homes.

Its appeal to tourists, with its hotel and cheese factory, is not overlooked.

An economic report says traffic to the village rises 32 per cent at weekends. It suggests shoppers could double their spending to $1 million in 16 years but more retail space would be needed in the village hub.

Resident Larry Mitchell said the draft structure plan would achieve the balance the community had said it wanted. The draft recognised that growth would be limited because of a lack of suitable building sites in the rolling and unstable countryside.

"We want to keep it the special way it is but make it better with the wharf, riverside walk and a model working village ... We don't want to have a historic precinct of a kilometre from the pub and just sitting outside is rampant development."

But Puhoi's wish to drop out of the region's growth race now threatens its easy link to the highway.

Land Transport New Zealand told a village meeting last week that on and off ramps were unlikely to be provided to the proposed Puhoi-to-Wellsford motorway extension.

One reason was that the village was not designated a growth node by the district council.

- NZ Herald

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