A plan for a five-storey apartment block in Birkenhead is fuelling the intensification-versus-housing choice debate.
Many residents of Rawene Rd are upset at the proposal for their no-exit street, which features historic villas built for the Chelsea Sugar Works.
The planned 56 units, all with two bedrooms and some 50sq m, are a classic case of overdevelopment, says one of the residents, Sharon Bonfield.
She accepts intensification is going to occur in Birkenhead, saying two other developments for 50 townhouses and apartments have been approved for Rawene Rd.
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However, it is the size and scale of the block on business-zoned land which have upset the locals. The Birkenhead Residents Association has questioned the design and impact on the community.
Developer Chris Davies says there was always a fear of something new. He says the units, priced from about $600,000 to $1 million, would cater for empty nesters, first-home buyers and young professionals.
Council documents show officers initially had concerns about the internal layout and size of the apartments, and the general bulk and massing of the building, which breached a number of planning controls. But after changes to the original plans, the council said the adverse effects could be mitigated. It has recommended the application be approved.
Resident Steve White said the small apartments, inadequate parking, virtually no landscaping, excessive height and street shading from the building would adversely affect the environment. He said it was a shame that the council did not follow Vancouver, the Canadian seaport city that local politicians and planners use as a benchmark to make Auckland the "world's most liveable city".
Rawene Rd resident Buzz Macintyre said it would not be local or new residents buying the small apartments but investors picking them off and renting them out.
• Birkenhead residents anxious about a planned five-storey block of flats
• Concerns about height, bulk and impact on residential street
• Developer says quality units will suit the suburb
• Prices range from $600,000 to $1 million
• Council recommends the application be approved by planning commissioners