A lobby group is planning to hire a resource management lawyer and experts on planning, urban design and traffic in an effort to stop a publicly-notified state housing development in Northland.

Housing New Zealand has lodged resource consent application to the Whangārei District Council to build 37 mostly one- and two-bedroom houses on land on Puriri Park Rd in Maunu. The application includes an assessment of environmental effects.

Another application has been made to the Northland Regional Council for earthworks, stormwater discharge and other activities associated with the planned development. About 4971cu m of earthworks is required for the plan.

WDC has this week publicly notified the application and called for submissions to be lodged by June 6.

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The Puriri Park and Maunu Residents Society Incorporated has distributed flyers to property owners, asking for monetary help to hire experts in a bid to stop the development.

Treasurer Dianne Reader said the estimate cost of hiring experts would be about $60,000.

"In the meantime, we're appealing to everyone to make submissions to the council. The more submissions on the proposal from the community, the better," she said.

Residents along Puriri Park Rd are concerned that an existing green space will be taken up for housing development and are worried about its impact on traffic and house values in the area.

The land was formerly Ministry of Education land which was purchased by Housing New Zealand last year and is zoned for residential housing, rather than green space, although that has been its de facto use.

Roy Walker, who lives about 500m away from the park on Kotuku St, is concerned about the type of tenants in the new state houses. The tenants will live among mostly retirees who own their homes.

"There are other areas in the city that could be redeveloped. We all feel what HNZ is doing here is the wrong type of development for our area."

Roy Walker feels Housing NZ should look at building state houses elsewhere in Whangārei. Photo / Tania Whyte
Roy Walker feels Housing NZ should look at building state houses elsewhere in Whangārei. Photo / Tania Whyte

Walker said he knew of one homeowner in the area who had a buyer that pulled out after learning about the proposed housing development.

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HNZ wants to build 15 one-bedroom duplex, four two-bedroom duplex, one three-bedroom standalone, six three-bedroom duplex, eight four-bedroom duplex and three five-bedroom standalone houses.

In its resource consent application, HNZ is also proposing to build a 70sq m community room that will contain an open area, a toilet, and an attached terrace.

The room will have four car parks with a further 11 provided along the new road that is to be constructed with both ends connecting to Puriri Park Rd.

The facility will be used by HNZ and other social services as well as for community meetings and events primarily during the day and early evening. HNZ forecasts 25 vehicle movements during peak hours and 245 per day.

A total of 70 car parks will be provided. One and two-bedroom units will be allocated one car park, and larger units two each.

"The traffic generated by the proposal to and from the site can be accommodated within the existing and proposed road network with less than a minor effect," the application says.

It's estimated 14 primary-aged children and 25 teenagers will live in the new state houses.

Concerned residents grill Housing NZ staff about the proposed development at a drop-in session on Puriri Park in February. Photo/John Stone
Concerned residents grill Housing NZ staff about the proposed development at a drop-in session on Puriri Park in February. Photo/John Stone

HNZ said Whangārei was experiencing a significant social housing shortage and that there were broad trends emerging in terms of demand for such houses. Couples and one-person households made up the majority of tenanted properties and 40 per cent of its tenants are over 65 years old.

The government entity currently owns and manages 1406 properties across Whangārei.

The waiting list for the Social Housing Register in Whangārei has more than doubled in the last year to almost 277 applicants.