Hearings into a controversial Bunnings Warehouse in Auckland's Grey Lynn started at 9.30am this morning.

Bunnings wants to build on Great North Rd, but residents have turned out in force to try to stop it.

They say the big development is out of scale with other buildings in the area.

The hearing is set down for four days and Bunnings lawyer David Kirkpatrick said he would need all today and part of tomorrow.


Commission chairman Greg Hill said there had been a large amount of interest in the proposal which only had limited notification.

Lee Whiley owns 48 Dean St opposite the site said he feared traffic movements every 15 minutes, worried about noise and the effect on tenants who live in his house and said the proposal was for a non complying activity.

It was "ridiculous" to consider using the quiet Dean St, parallel with Great North Rd, for entry and exit to a Bunnings for inward and outward goods.

Only Great North Rd should be used if Bunnings built a store there, he said.

But Kirkpatrick corrected Whiley and said the proposal was not non-complying but a "restricted discretionary activity."

The 7206sq M site was in a mixed-use zone where permitted activities meant retail or high traffic generating activities were not excluded, Kirkpatrick said.

Some people wanted housing on the site but people forgot there was a need to have business activity as Auckland was intensified, Kirkpatrick told the packed hearing at Auckland Council's hearing room.

David Boersen, Bunnings' property and store development manager, said the business was growing throughout Auckland "but strategically in the centre there is a big gap in our network."


Boersen told how Bunnings had significantly changed designs at Grey Lynn to take account of unusual circumstances.

Car parking and timber trade sales will be subterranean, inwards good receiving areas will be internal and trucks will wait off the street to avoid blockages.

The cafe will be at the front, not by the plant nursery as elsewhere, Boersen said.

The store will be cream, not green, to fit in with the area, he said.