Rezoning of new town centre and housing in Drury West

Mon March 14th 2022

The rezoning of 33 hectares of the Auranga development in Drury West has been approved despite Council opposition.

A panel of independent commissioners has recently approved Plan Change 51 to the Auckland Unitary Plan paving the way for a new town centre to service the ever-increasing population of the MADE Group’s Auranga development in Drury West.

Plan Change 51 allows the rezoning of 33.65 hectares of land comprising 15ha for the new town centre with the remainder providing for further residential development under the Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings zone or the Mixed Housing Urban zone.

Partner Simon Berry and the Berry Simons' team worked with a multi-disciplinary group of top flight experts to put the case together in the face of strong opposition from Auckland Council (as submitter), Auckland Transport, and other entities. Auckland Council (as regulator) also recommended against the rezoning.

The case involved a number of complex and controversial issues, including the Council’s lack of funding. MADE was able to demonstrate its commitment to funding key infrastructure requirements and working with key agencies to enable the planned development to proceed. The Commissioners endorsed the position advanced by MADE in a comprehensive and well-reasoned decision.

This is the third rezoning, in the last seven years, that the Berry Simons team has helped the MADE team achieve to deliver Charles Ma’s dream for Auranga. The first two were rezoning over 160ha of land for residential development. People are already living there.

We at Berry Simons are very happy with the result. It has been an uphill battle but the approval of PC51 will contribute additional housing to the fast growing Drury West area, as well as support the commercial and social needs of that community by facilitating the Drury West Town Centre. We are very pleased to have obtained this important outcome in the face of continued opposition to Auranga from Auckland Council and related entities,” says Simon Berry.

However Simon Berry queries the appropriateness of the dual role of the Council. “Auckland Council officers have made all three plan changes incredibly difficult. It is one thing to be difficult during processing and to recommend decline, but something else again for Auckland Council to lodge a submission and to mount a substantial (and no doubt costly) case in opposition to an objectively sound plan change," says Berry. “The RMA provides for councils to lodge submissions on plan changes, so that district and regional councils can submit on each others’ plans. But for a unitary authority to fully participate as an opponent, when it is also the regulator, is in my view an abuse of process that I hope we will not see repeated,” he said.

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