Plans by Auckland Council's development arm for a large apartment and commercial development on Dominion Rd has been refused planning permission.

Panuku Development Auckland drew up detailed plans for 102 apartments and nine shops on the corner of Dominion Rd and Valley Rd, drawing opposition from locals and Auckland Council itself.

The council believed the project was too big and bulky and would erode the character of the area. Part of the plan included demolition of the plastered brick Universal Building on Dominion Rd, built in 1949.

Heritage fans will applaud the council for saving this much loved corner of Auckland

Potter Peter Lange, the brother of former Prime Minister David Lange, who has lived within 20m of the site for almost 40 years, said the site was owned by the people of Auckland but earmarked for a gated community for a few privileged citizens.

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He told planning commissioners the development needed to reflect the social make-up and architectural heritage of the area with public spaces, planting and retail interest.

Panuku's plans included four apartments blocks, varying between three and five storeys and nine shops.

Peter Lange said the development needed to reflect the social make-up and architectural heritage of the area.
Peter Lange said the development needed to reflect the social make-up and architectural heritage of the area.

Its lawyer, Daniel Minhinnick, told commissioners that Panuku considered the development would be a positive addition to Dominion Rd and "achieve the council's strategic goals for intensification along key public transport routes, whilst complementing the special character of the Dominion Rd area".

Minhinnick noted the council's reporting officer's view that the design of the project would result in "unacceptable" adverse effects "flies in the face of the weight of expert evidence".

The evidence painted a "compelling picture" that would result in significant positive benefits for Auckland, he said.

Artist's impression of the development on the corner of Dominion and Valley Rds refused planning permission. Source / Panuku Development Auckland
Artist's impression of the development on the corner of Dominion and Valley Rds refused planning permission. Source / Panuku Development Auckland

The three commissioners - Janine Bell, Cherie Lane and Richard Blakey - refused the resource consent application from Panuku.

They cited the scale, bulk and intensity of the proposed development as the main reasons.

"We consider the demolition of the Universal Buildings would have a significant adverse effect on the special character of this business area...there was a lack of evidence provided to support the removal of the building," the commissioners said.

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In a statement, Panuku said it would review the points raised by the commissioners regarding the design of the development and consider the next steps.

Character Coalition spokeswoman Sally Hughes said Dominion Rd had a lot of quirky character so it was great to see that this "bulky, out of place development" had been rejected by the council planners.

"After so many disappointments and losses since the Unitary Plan, heritage fans will applaud the council for saving this much loved corner of Auckland. This is a great result for Auckland."