Commissioners have approved NZ Retail Property Group Ltd’s expansion of the Milford Shopping Centre retail space and addition of 115 apartments.
The development, as amended after notification, comprises 2460m² of gross lettable retail floor area, 22 2-bedroom (92m²+) apartments, 93 3-bedroom (120m²+) apartments, plus 173 retail & 242 residential parking spaces. The development consists of a 4-storey base building & a 6-storey building on a podium and set back within the site.
The hearing panel was chaired by Barry Kaye, with commissioners Melean Absolum, Craig Shearer & Phelan Pirrie. They heard the application in April and delivered their decision at the weekend.
Bulk, scale, dominance & articulation were main issues raised by opponents, and a group of them requested a masterplan be prepared for the site.
However, Mr Kaye said in the decision that requesting a masterplan wasn’t within the hearing panel’s jurisdiction: “The combined Milford Residents Association, Milford Village Forum and Castor Bay Ratepayers & Residents Association submissions, in particular, expressed the need for the proposed development to successfully integrate with the surrounding areas and, in particular, the pedestrian network. They seek a masterplan approach be taken by the applicant, to ensure all the stages of development are integrated with each other and with the adjacent commercial & pedestrian areas.
“We have a degree of sympathy for this concept. However, in introducing the reasons why they seek this approach, many of the issues the submitters have concerns about are not matters that could be incorporated into the applicant’s proposal. These include the provision of improved pedestrian access around the site, landscaping along the streets, integration with the wider commercial area & the adjacent public spaces.
“Many of the ideas expressed to us we considered to have great merit, but they are not matters that we have jurisdiction over – we are restricted to consideration of the effects of the development and cannot require the development of a masterplan for the wider area. We note that the Milford centre plan has been produced by the Takapuna-Devonport Local Board and this partially fulfils some of the requirements of the submitters, although Campbell Barbour for the applicant advised us his company was not invited to participate in its production.”
The hearing panel concluded in approving the expansion that it would have no more than minor adverse effects on the environment and wouldn’t be contrary to the objectives & policies of the relevant plans, and therefore passed both gateway tests in terms of section 104D of the Resource Management Act.
Mr Kaye said: “The proposal may result in actual & potential effects on the environment in relation to visual effects & built form, construction & earthworks effects, groundwater drawdown and cultural values and parking & traffic congestion & loading. Any actual & potential effects are, however, considered to be avoided, remedied or mitigated by the design of the buildings & conditions of consent, particularly those relating to final design detail, and management of construction & earthworks effects.
“Furthermore, the proposal will result in positive effects arising from a building that contributes positively to the urban form of the Milford town centre, provides improvements to the public realm through street-level activation & streetscape enhancements, and through the provision of high quality residential accommodation in a location well serviced by existing infrastructure, including public transport.”
Milford plan change approval moves into wider debate