Westfield has been given permission to double the size of its St Lukes shopping centre, making it the country's biggest, despite protests by local residents.

Independent planning commissioners have recommended Auckland City Council approve the shopping centre owner's scheme.

Leigh McGregor, Greg Hill and Conway Stewart recommended the council accept Westfield's private plan change for its site.

Indoor floor space will increase from 4.5ha to 9.2ha, eclipsing the 7ha Sylvia Park shopping centre in Mt Wellington and Westfield Albany, which is also around 7ha.

Graham Dekker, an Aroha Ave resident and convener of a St Lukes community group opposing the plans, said the changes were a big blow.

"This decision is incomprehensible. There will be 10m buildings across the road from our houses which is unnecessary and not even what Westfield wanted.

"This will be right opposite bungalows. We got nothing that we wanted. They ignored all our concerns and they didn't deal with any of the issues we raised or evidence we presented."

Mr Dekker's group plans to appeal against the decision in the Environment Court.

Westfield owns much of the housing around its mall where it wants to build out to the north and east.

The mall has a Foodtown, Kmart, 127 specialty shops, five banks, a 644-seat food court with nine food shops, a 1640-seat multiplex cinema and 2018 car parking spaces.

The expansion will build up areas north towards Exeter Rd and east towards Aroha Ave.

The retail giant wants the shopping centre to become "outward-looking" and commissioners backed that. Expansion will not start immediately.

"The redevelopment of St Lukes is likely to occur in several stages, depending on market demand," the commissioners said.

Traffic was an issue because St Lukes would remain "a vehicle-oriented centre for two principal reasons: it is clearly not as well served by public transport as other large centres such as Newmarket and Sylvia Park, and the nature of shopping is such that public transport is not an ideal means of carrying more than a handful of small purchases home".

Deb McGhie of Westfield said executives at her firm were waiting for the council to endorse the independent hearing commissioners' report.

She expects this to happen tomorrow at a full council meeting.