Big stink over development

By Anne Gibson

Newmarket businesses are complaining about disruption caused by the huge apartment blocks being built in the area.

Property manager Ivor de Menefy, who manages The Holiday Shoppe, Simply Cards and the Echo Barr on Remuera Rd, has protested to apartment developer L&Y Holdings of Brunei and Singapore, which is building the apartments on 3ha of former railway land between Broadway and Remuera Rd about the development.

The company is constructing the 130-unit King's Square on Broadway and de Menefy says the foundation work on that block has caused problems for the properties he manages.

L&Y has finished the eight-level 373-unit Queen's Lodge nearby where internal fitouts are almost completed.

L&Y also built The Terraces, where balconies were demolished after being found to be unsafe. Residents there have been trying to resolve major weathertightness issues since 2004.

De Menefy said there had been structural, sewerage and stormwater issues with the King's Square development. "I've had tampons and faeces flooding a basement."

He had attempted to "stem the flow" by asking some tenants to temporarily suspend flushing toilets.

Cameron Brewer, general manager of the Newmarket Business Association, said many retailers had complained about the building work, although the apartments would ultimately be good for the suburb once they were finished because resident numbers would double.

L&Y Holdings said it was resolving the sewerage issues.

Raymond Ma, L&Y's sales and leasing manager, said he met de Menefy to discuss the sewage pipe problems last week and it was agreed that a contractor should finish foundation work for the new apartments so the pipeworks could be completed.

But de Menefy said he had not agreed to that solution.

Brewer said he wanted to be optimistic about the new development, but it was hard.

"We are trying to work positively with the developer to try to get the best out of a situation that's far from ideal. However the urban design of the complex completely compromises Newmarket's premier aspirations and the extra traffic will cause gridlock at the bottom of Remuera Rd.

"After the previous council introduced the urban design panel, the plans for the complex did dramatically improve around pedestrian access, the proposed square and better links to the street, the railway station and to buses.

"We get a lot of complaints about the ongoing disruption and disturbance contractors are causing.

"Neighbouring residents have been complaining that contractors are regularly operating beyond the consented hours which are 7.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturday.

"The trucks transporting dirt and shingle are leaving a big mess in the likes of upmarket Nuffield Street and the rock blasting and splitting is deafening for the likes of the Holiday Shoppe, not to mention the damage to neighbouring buildings.

"Broadway retailers were upset when an access road behind their shops was permanently cut off and the pedestrian footbridge was pulled down.

"Retailers and residents are having to endure all these problems largely because the scale of the project is far too big. Almost every square inch of this site will be covered with an eight-storey building. Fifteen years ago it was public land, belonging to New Zealand Railways.

"It borders Auckland's second most important railway station and key junction so it should never have been sold. Today it should be public open space like that above Britomart. It's a huge opportunity lost.

"I am trying to work positively with the developer and to their credit they are being responsive on peripheral things like cleaning up graffiti and tidying up rubbish but as far as the construction project goes they're very single minded.

"It's hard to believe that after 11 years of delays, repeatedly going back to the drawing board, and the introduction of a new Building Act and strengthened urban controls, that we end up with this," Brewer said.

The Herald attempted to put other complaints to L&Y. Ma said director Henry Lim would deal with these, but Lim did not return calls.

L&Y'SNEWMARKETAPARTMENTS

* Retailers are complaining about King's Square on Broadway.

* Foundation work is being completed on this 130-unit block.

* The $150 million 373-unit Queen's Lodge is up and being fitted out.

* The 43-units Terraces apartments at 118 Broadway suffered major leaks.

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