A rich-list couple have backed down on taking more helicopter flights to and from their $30 million home in Herne Bay.
Simon and Paula Herbert wanted to double the number of flights at their Cremorne St property from two flights a week to four a week.
The Herberts paid just under $30 million in 2018 for their modernist Brent Hulena concrete house on the headland at the end of Cremorne St - New Zealand's most expensive street with its mega-mansions worth an average of $13m each.
At the time of the sale, Simon Herbert, a developer and marina investor, told the Herald it was "one of only a few properties in Auckland with consent to land a helicopter, which was on our wishlist, as it will allow us to fly direct to our house in the Bay of Islands".
The 2810 square metre site has its own boat shed, pool overlooking the waterfront, beachfront access and an existing helicopter pad.
A little further around Auckland's Waitematā Harbour, ex-All Black Ali Williams and toy billionaire Anna Mowbray are planning a helicopter landing and take-off pad at Westmere.
The couple paid $24m for the almost half-hectare headland site, previously owned by film director Andrew Adamson, and plan to demolish the 12-year-old house and replace it with a three-level home with a subterranean basement.
Another rich-lister, Rod Duke, faced strong public opposition when he tried to build a James Bond-style helipad in Herne Bay with a roof that folds back on a revamped boat shed at Sentinel Beach. He backed down, completing the boat shed with a fixed roof.
Auckland Council yesterday advised the Herne Bay Residents Association that the Herberts had withdrawn their resource consent application for the extra helicopter flights, but did not give any reasons.
The Weekend Herald is seeking comment from the Herberts and their planner Craig Shearer.
Herne Bay Residents Association co-chair Don Mathieson today said he was pleased the Herberts had seen "commonsense in not proceeding and respecting the neighbours' peaceful enjoyment of their properties in early mornings and late afternoons".
The Herberts, through Shearer, sought to have the application approved without public notification, but this was rejected last December by senior council planner Patrick Moss, who said doubling the number of flights would create adverse effects to residents at four nearby properties.
This led to limited notification in April of the application to change the number of consented helicopter flights from two flights a week to four with no more than two flights on any one day. The Herberts later chose to change their application for public notification.
When submissions closed on August 16, there were 130 submissions, all of them opposed.
A council spokeswoman said the Herberts acknowledged the opposition, in particular, the submissions and concerns raised by their direct neighbours.
Originally, the Herberts applied to change the conditions of the 2015 resource consent from no more than one flight per day and two flights a week, to allow for three flights on any one day and 104 flights in a year. In May last year, they amended the application back to two flights a day and 104 flights in a year.
In a letter from Shearer to council planners, he said an assessment by Hegley Acoustic Consultants found the noise exposure to residents using a quieter Airbus H130T2 helicopter for more flights would be less than permitted in the current consent and "thus considered to be reasonable".
Mathieson said Auckland Council's Unitary Plan is highly ambiguous on helicopters to the extent it contradicts itself in places.
"Our legal people say it's a mess."
He said the association wants the council to tidy up the Unitary Plan when it comes to helicopters, with support from local councillor Pippa Coom and the Waitematā Local Board.
Mathieson said the association understood there would be no changes for cost reasons until 2026 when a review of the plan is due, but after lobbying had been told a helicopter plan change will be considered next year.