Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Dismay at special housing proposals

A Special Housing Area in the build process. File photo / Nick Reed
A Special Housing Area in the build process. File photo / Nick Reed

Residents of well-heeled Auckland suburbs are bristling at plans for new Special Housing Areas in their backyards.

Fourteen new SHAs providing more than 4500 new homes across Auckland were announced yesterday. This latest tranche will bring the total number of SHAs in Auckland to 120, with a combined potential yield of more than 52,000 new homes.

Herne Bay resident Kate Stanton has lived opposite the site of one of the new areas - the Gables pub in Kelmarna Ave - for 35 years. The 0.23ha site has been earmarked for a block of 70 apartments.

Ms Stanton said she feared existing infrastructure, such as sewer and storm-water drains, would not cope with that many extra households.

She was looking for a way to limit the size of any apartment building so it was not "a disaster".

Ms Stanton said the planned building could end up looking nice and may actually enhance the area - but not if it contained 70 homes.

At Zion Rd in Birkenhead, residents are concerned about the traffic and parking impact of plans for 50 new homes.

Jane Allpress, who has lived in Zion Rd for 21 years, said the street was a narrow, no-exit street less than 100m from the main Birkenhead intersection. Parking was already a problem for residents.

"In all honesty the traffic report, if done, should have been enough to veto this piece of land from the get-go," she said.

Another resident, Mike Pratt, echoed her concerns, saying the street was almost a one-way street and the intersection on to Birkenhead Rd was a huge concern and had a high accident rate.

Ms Allpress questioned how the SHA had "popped up" after questioning council planners three weeks ago who, she says, did not have the property listed for any consents or fast-tracking for development.

The Auckland Housing Accord, which was agreed in October 2013 by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown, provides for the creation of SHAs by Auckland Council with the approval of the Government.

Qualifying developments in these areas can be streamlined and fast-tracked.

- Bernard Orsman, Newstalk ZB

- NZ Herald

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