A major roadblock to Auckland's $2.5 billion City Rail Link has been unlocked after the Environment Court refused to rule in favour of a powerful landlord.
Property owner Tram Lease went to court against Auckland Transport and Auckland Council over a Mt Eden property crucial to the City Rail Link, where works are due to start soon in the central business district.
Companies Office records show Richlisters Adrian Burr and Mark Wyborn are Tram Lease directors.
The court refused to allow Tram Lease's appeal and instead issued an interim decision asking the parties involved to address conditions before a final ruling was made.
At issue are the negative effects of the CRL works on Tram Lease's property which Auckland Transport is not intending to buy but where ramping works must be carried out for three to four weeks, reducing the number of on-site carparks.
Principal Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook, sitting with two environment commissioners, released a detailed decision on 32 Normanby Rd - land owned by Tram Lease with buildings owned by CJM Investments.
Those two parties appealed one of six notices of requirement for the infrastructural works proposed for the 3.4km underground passenger railway line to connect Britomart station and the North Auckland Line near the Mt Eden station.
CJM has the head lease on buildings tenanted by various businesses including stationery and furniture distribution and retailing business OfficeMax.
The six notices of requirement will allow "works to upgrade the Mt Eden railway station and connect the CRL lines into the North Auckland line of KiwiRail.
The works would include the grade separation of the Normanby Rd rail crossing, comprising a raising of the existing road level and a lowering of the adjoining railway track, thereby necessitating the construction of an access ramp into the Tram Lease site," the decision said.
Tram Lease and CJM Investments complained of a "planning blight" on the property due to uncertainty about when the works would take place, negative effects on the tenants including possible tenant loss, problems gaining replacement tenants and the spectre of reduced rentals.
They raised further negative effects when the works start including carparking problems and safety of pedestrian access and negative permanent effects including visual effects and the necessity to landscape to mitigate adverse effects.
But the court asked Auckland Transport and Auckland Council to "ensure consistency" in all six notices of requirement and said a final decision would be issued.
"It will be apparent from the findings that we have made in earlier parts of this decision that we will not be cancelling the requirement for designation but instead have the intention of confirming it," the ruling said.
Timing of the works was not an issue, the court found.
"We accept the submissions of counsel for AT that uncertainty about precise construction commencement date is not uncommon with large infrastructure projects that take time for detailed design and funding to be completed," the decision said, encouraging parties to reach agreement.
"Our intention is that the parties should work further on the draft conditions of consent and refer them back to the court."
See the full court decision here: