Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Residents fear for safety if hotel allowed

The Historic Places Trust says the hotel would loom over the gasworks building. Photo / Supplied
The Historic Places Trust says the hotel would loom over the gasworks building. Photo / Supplied

Residents of an award-winning central Auckland enclave of apartments say they fear for their safety and security from intruders if a tourist hotel is built next door.

A Quest Hotel of 34 rooms is proposed for a vacant lot adjoining the Beaumont Quarter, opposite Victoria Park.

At an Auckland Council hearing of the resource consent application yesterday, apartment owner Robert Francis said he was disturbed by a hotel threatening the safety and security of younger members of his family.

At present, the public rarely strayed into the private lane serving the apartments. But a hotel would draw a "transient population" and they would walk about the quarter and pose a risk to ground-floor residences with limited security.

Another resident, Robert Aikman, said he was concerned that unauthorised people would come into the quarter, which was a quiet haven.

"Security is the prime reason for purchasing in the Beaumont Quarter," he said in one of the 52 submissions opposing consent.

Resident Susan Brown said her privacy would be lost. Some of the hotel units would be "looking into our bedroom and living areas".

"We already have people coming here to sit on our steps and drink beer."

However, lawyer Russell Bartlett said Beaumont Trading Co was within its rights to use the site, and it was not a case of "there goes the neighbourhood" because a travellers' accommodation business was proposed.

Mr Bartlett said the mixed use zone of the Auckland Isthmus District Plan allowed travellers' accommodation in certain locations and was "not seeking to create or to preserve a 100 per cent pure residential enclave".

The contrasting look of the proposed hotel's design compared with its neighbour, the Auckland Gas Company (AGC) heritage building, drew criticism from residents of the quarter and the Historic Places Trust.

Trust planning adviser Duncan McKenzie said the developer had agreed to a number of design changes but concerns remained about the building's height and bulk so close to the Category 2 scheduled heritage structure.

Two of the five storeys "loomed over" the old building and the trust wanted it to "pay respect" to its elder by changing to a stepped-back design.

Susan Brown said the Beaumont Quarter had won awards and was an architectural highlight of Auckland. However, the hotel design was out of keeping with its neighbours.

"This building does not have the architectural merit to fit in with the Quarter or the heritage building next door."

- NZ Herald

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