Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Swanson set to grow after 13-year wait

330 new homes in mixed-density development expected to double western centre's population.

Local Paul Robinson has been concerned for a decade about how the Swanson land is developed.  Photo / APN
Local Paul Robinson has been concerned for a decade about how the Swanson land is developed. Photo / APN

A rural village in West Auckland is set for a boost of 330 new homes which were first planned 13 years ago but became caught in a battle between the developer, a residents' environmental group and local authorities.

Auckland Council has approved a change to the Waitakere District Plan to allow intensified residential development around the Swanson Railway Station.

This follows a successful Environment Court mediation of appeals on a council commissioners' decision last June on the so-called Penihana North plan change.

Swanson is a former sawmilling centre and orchard area.

"It's a nice little village and it will essentially have a doubling of the population," said a resident of 40 years, Paul Robinson, who has been concerned for a decade on how the land is developed.

Swanson's role in Auckland's growth was sealed in 2009, when the former Waitakere District Council accepted an area of 22.5ha for urban development.

In 2010, the former Auckland Regional Council moved the metropolitan urban limit to include farm land in Penihana North.

The developer of 90 per cent of the land is Neil Construction. Its chief executive, Grant Brebner, said work could start this year on a mixture of medium- and lower-density lots spread over five years.

The area nearest to the station and railway line was zoned for medium density where the minimum requirement was one dwelling per 350sq m.

He said the lower-density zoning to the south of a through-road between Christian Rd and O'Neills Rd required lots of at least 600sq m, apart from a small area next to the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area which required 1200sq m sites.

"The whole plan change area will produce about 320 to 330 dwellings but this could rise with the addition of more town houses close to the railway station.

"We will ensure a reasonable quality of development going in there."

Mr Brebner said it had taken 13 years to get the land zoned for residential, despite it having rail and road transport and water and sewerage services.

"It's illustrative of how things have got to change or Auckland's housing crisis will get a lot worse."

Swanson Foothills Protection Society chairman Jean Berry said it appealed against the lot densities, lack of amenities and poor screening of the foothills and ranges from the development.

Swanson's section boost

320-330 new homes
1 dwelling per 350sq m, or 600sq m or 1200sq m
28km rail trip to Britomart
13 years to get farm zoned for residential.

- NZ Herald

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