Consent for new digital billboard at Western Springs
Fri May 28th 2021
Consent is obtained for LUMO Digital Outdoor to install a new double-sided digital billboard at the Caltex service station opposite MOTAT in Western Springs.
Simon Berry and Tamsin Gorman lead the witness team that obtained consent for LUMO Digital Outdoor to install a new double-sided digital billboard at the existing Caltex service station opposite MOTAT in Western Springs.
Waka Kotahi / NZTA was the only submitter that opposed the application (on traffic safety grounds), thus giving rise to the need for a hearing which they then did not have the courtesy to attend. So, the hearing solely comprised the applicant and Auckland Council officers recommending that consent be declined – worryingly, an increasingly common occurrence.
The Council officer’s report recommended that consent be declined on the basis of adverse landscape / visual amenity and impacts on traffic safety due to driver distraction. A member of Council’s Heritage section attempted to allege that the billboard would be so distracting as to compromise the ability to appreciate two heritage assets in the vicinity.
In a comprehensive decision, the independent commissioners found in favour of LUMO’s experts, indicating that they accepted that:
- The billboard will not be distracting to passing drivers.
- The billboard will not have an adverse effect on amenity due to the utilitarian nature of the location.
- The heritage concerns expressed by the Council were significantly overstated.
Council officers also wanted to limit the duration of the consent to 10 years. Rather than have a hard and fast review condition, Berry Simons offered, on an Augier basis, an augmented review condition that will enable the consent to be reviewed after 10 years with a view to cancelling it (which is not normally possible – hence the need to volunteer the condition under the principle in Augier) in tightly circumscribed circumstances. Thus, unless in the future the billboard causes the adverse effects that Council officers are concerned about – which is highly unlikely - the consent will continue in force in perpetuity.
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