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Court action seeks consultation on property sell-off

Flagstaff Team

A legal challenge has been lodged against the potential sale of the former borough council building in Devonport, 2 The Strand Takapuna, and three North Shore public reserves.

Both Auckland Council-owned buildings have been vacant for years and post-Covid are on a list of assets under investigation for sale.

The reserves are located at Linwood Rd and Forrest Hill Rd, Forrest Hill, and Bloomfield Spa in Takapuna.

Save Our Shore Public Spaces, a newly formed incorporated society made up of community leaders from Milford, Sunnynook, Takapuna and Devonport, has lodged an application for judicial review in the High Court, seeking an order forcing council to have meaningful consultation with the public over any sales.

As part of the legal claim, an interim order to stop any sales was sought.

Council had until this week to file its defence. That would trigger the setting of a date for a hearing.

Group spokesperson Grant Gillon, a former Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member and North Shore City Councillor, said while sales could not be permanently stopped, the law was clear that council needed to consult meaningfully with the community over land disposal.

“We are arguing the buildings should be included in this as well, as they are community spaces – council should consult on them if they want to sell them,” Gillon said.

The retention of the buildings for community use was the thrust of a number of Devon- port-Takapuna Local Board resolutions over recent years.

Council had been aggressive, Gillon said.

“There has been some mediation [last Wednesday] at my request, after council threatened a community group with costs, which is pretty reprehensible.”

The original Save Our Shore Public Spaces claim included another reserve at Hauraki. But council had since dropped this from its list of 102 parks for sale across Auckland, Gillon said.

• A spokesperson for council’s property arm, Panuku, said both buildings were still on the emergency-budget recycling list but no decisions had yet been made.

This article originally appeared in the 29 January 2021 edition of the Flagstaff. Read online here.

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