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Fears locals short-changed by new town square

Flagstaff Team

Square fears… Heart of Takapuna’s Ruth Jackson says she spoke to hundreds of people opposed to the Anzac St car-park sale at the Sunday Market on 2 March

A Takapuna group fears residents are being short-changed in plans for a new town square. Heart of Takapuna believes the town square will fall short of the required 3000 to 4000 square metres, and claims the council is not following its own directives.

Group spokesperson Ruth Jackson says when the council’s planning committee approved a change of use for the car park at 40 Anzac St, in March 2018, it said the town square must be located on the 40 Anzac St site. 

Marketing material instead shows a town square of about 1300 sqm on the Anzac St site, with the remainder of the space falling on the 30 to 38 Anzac St portion of the development. 

Further, the committee said the town square would have to follow council rules in its 2016 “Open Space Provisions for a Civic Space”, which requires town squares to be 3000 to 4000 sqm. 

Heart of Takapuna wants a town square larger than the currently planned “circa 3000 sqm”, but fears current plans could lead to a square smaller than that. 

It has laid out its concerns in a letter to Mayor Phil Goff and North Shore councillors Richard Hills and Chris Darby. 

“We have consistently queried the disparity between council’s clear instruction and the actual size and location of the town square which is now being advanced,” said Jackson. 

In a response, Auckland Council chief operating officer David Rankin said, in 2018 consultation, the public selected a town square located from Lake Rd to Hurstmere Rd. 

Panuku is calling for expressions of interest from developers by 22 March. It could not provide plans showing measurements for each part of the development. 

“As the design of the town square is not yet finalised, the area measurements provided for this and other development sites in all [Panuku’s agent] CBRE literature advertising this development opportunity are approximate,” development manager Kate Cumberpatch said. “The town square will follow council guidelines and is anticipated to be around 3000sqm to 4000sqm in size.”

In marketing material, CBRE said, “Takapuna-specific rules” had been put in place for the development. Buildings can rise to nine storeys on the Anzac St site, with a set back of three to four storeys. Buildings on Hurstmere Rd could be up to six storeys (with a setback of two to four storeys). 

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member Jan O’Connor fears the square will be shaded by the nine-storey buildings, even with the setback. 

Anzac St will continue to be used as a car park until mid-2020 when the new multi-level Gasometer car park building, 200 metres away, will open. 

Construction has started on the the building, which will have about 420 car parks, electric-car and bike charging stations, bike storage, motorbike parking, and changing rooms. 

Auckland Council will also be upgrading Hurstmere Rd with a redesigned streetscape that prioritises people and reduces traffic to a one-way street. Work is due to start mid-2019. 

This article originally appeared in the March 15 edition of the Rangitoto Observer. Download PDF.