Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Locals demand quality housing

Intensification plan accepted, with concern.

Lynette O'Brien. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Lynette O'Brien. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Lynette O'Brien supports intensification of Papatoetoe so long as it is not like the "concrete jungle" of stucco townhouses in Shirley Rd.

The two rows of featureless townhouses will deteriorate into a ghetto, predicts the local pharmacist, who believes in the future of the once-bustling middle-class suburb of Papatoetoe.

"I support the model of change, but the crux is quality," said Mrs O'Brien, who wants Papatoetoe to build on its heritage.

She was one of about 20 locals at a community meeting to discuss a new rulebook for the city that asks Aucklanders to adapt to high-rise apartments and infill housing to squeeze another one million residents into the city.

For Papatoetoe, that means plans for six-storey buildings in the old town centre, four-storey buildings at Hunters Corner and large areas of four-storey apartments and townhouses around the two centres.

Many streets of brick-and-tile houses built in the 1960s and 1970s have been earmarked for "mixed housing", allowing one dwelling per 300sq m or no density on 1200sq m-plus sections.

Unlike people from hotspots such as St Heliers and Milford, most of those at the meeting were not against intensification of the suburb, but were concerned about the speed of change, lack of detail on infrastructure and plans to convert council land behind the old Papatoetoe town centre into affordable housing.

Colin Brown wanted to know where the plans were for new schools and reserves.

Already-full schools face being made to find space for 150,000 more school-age children in the city by 2040.

One woman, who did not want to be named, was concerned about more relaxed carparking rules for apartments.

"I have got elderly residents either side of me and they will find it very difficult," she told the meeting on Friday.

Frank Ciochetto, who has lived in Papatoetoe for 49 years and remembers when Hunters Corner was a vineyard, said people had to accept that change was inevitable.

"When you consider the whole of New Zealand is less people than greater Sydney ... we are still very, very lightly populated."

- NZ Herald

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