Auckland councillor Chris Darby says architecture at the 282-residence 16ha Waimahia Inlet special housing area left him cold and a lack of downstairs toilets was putting buyers off.
But project manager Greg Freeman said the places were designed with affordability as well as aesthetics in mind and people had the option to buy places with downstairs toilets, though cutting these out kept costs down.
Darby had hoped for more at the estate near Weymouth.
"I'll reserve final judgment until stages one and two are up and running but considering it represents Auckland's first response to the Unitary Plan through SHA [special housing area] provisions, I'm a bit underwhelmed."
Freeman said Jasmax in association with Paul Brown Architects had worked on the housing design.
"We understand Chris's concerns about the architecture but to put this in perspective, it's affordable housing," Freeman said.
"Every roof break, every corner, every interest on the facade - it costs more," he said.
"Give us a chance to do all the landscaping, then come and look."
Darby said downstairs toilets were important.
"Many prospective buyers - particularly seniors - have backed away after noticing there's no toilet on the ground floor where most daily living occurs." Darby said.
Freeman said buyers could buy a three-bedroom place without a downstairs toilet as a cheaper option but many three-bedroom places had downstairs toilets.
Darby questioned the estate's remote location on the edge of the Manukau Harbour.
Chris Darby is reserving judgment on the houses.
"Another thing that caught my eye in the marketing material was emphasis of proximity to recreation and shopping etc but car travel and not public transport was emphasised. Yes it's remote," he said.
"Waimahia might meet SHA affordability threshold tests but I'm unconvinced [by] the ... design."
Freeman said the estate was near schooling and many amenities.
"Clendon is a developing shopping centre but it has a New World, Warehouse, food outlets, Mobil," Freeman said.
"We have reasonable links to transport and buses."
Prices at Waimahia
2-bedroom 72sq m on 140sq m site $322,000
3-bedroom 122sq m on 220sq m site $398,000
4-bedroom 149sq m on 250-300sq m site $447,000
5-bedroom 160sq m on 325-470sq m site $495,000
Source: Waimahia Inlet