Gunton gutted by Milford decision but will fight on

Milford Centre Ltd chairman Mark Gunton said on Wednesday, after hearing commissioners had turned down a plan change that would have allowed 235 apartments to be built above the mall, the company remained committed to promoting a genuine “world-class” response to Auckland’s intensification agenda.

The company’s plan was for “high quality & very desirable apartments in a bold, innovative & timely fashion”. But Mr Gunton asked: “If it is not possible to obtain planning approval to construct highrise living on business-zoned land adjacent to suburban areas, how can Auckland’s suburban centres possibly be intensified in any meaningful way?”

He said the company had spent vast sums of money & time “to prepare a vision for its Milford site which would be a benchmark for high quality, genuine mixed-use development in New Zealand.  The proposal has been carefully designed to provide for residential apartment towers above the highly successful Milford Shopping Centre. This is not a token gesture of some residential edge sleeving but a genuine high quality, largescale mixed-use development in a superb location on Auckland’s North Shore.

“In effect, the proposal has been declined because the panel supports the submitters’ view that the buildings are too tall, the panel was concerned that the scale of development was ‘too much, too soon’ and that, in the panel’s opinion, there would be serious adverse effects arising from having highrise developments located adjacent to suburban living.

“Milford Centre seeks to support Auckland Council’s vision for our city that it be world-class. World-class cities have elegant, well designed and highly sought-after tall buildings in great locations to provide a specific type of residential accommodation.

“We support Auckland Council’s vision to deliver high amenity, compact-form residential intensification to alleviate Auckland’s current housing crisis, but we are concerned at the message that this panel’s findings sends to the Auckland development market.

“Despite the aspirations for housing intensification championed by the Auckland Plan, the reality remains that communities of self-interest, particularly in the well established suburbs of Auckland, can and it seems will create barriers to intensification outcomes that will lead the development community to conclude that the provision of traditional housing forms on the urban edge is the path of least resistance which should be pursued. Rather than a step change, it will simply be more of the same.”

Earlier stories:
20 February 2013: Commissioners decline Milford Mall residential intensification plan change
20 February 2013: Why the Milford Mall intensification proposal was turned down
19 October 2012: Milford development lawyer fires shots at council planner’s “twists” & residents’ exclusive approach
3 October 2012: “Change is bad” – ground for the intensification debate laid at Milford
2 October 2012: Propbd on Q, cut fresh – Tuesday 2 October 2012, Council planners rebut impropriety in change of opinion on Milford plan change
28 September 2012: Council planners make about-turn on Milford intensification
6 August 2012: Opponent says 235 apartments sought for towers above Milford mall could rise to 874
22 May 2005: Regional policy statement changes on intensification
22 May 2005: Regional intensification schedule

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