More homes wanted around Cornwall Park

11:05 AM Tuesday July 22, 2014 Anne Gibson

Intensive housing development on land surrounding Cornwall Park is being proposed. The submission to Auckland Council's Proposed Unitary Plan also seeks the axing of historic and demolition controls, sparking fears of annual lease payment rises.

The Cornwall Park Trust Board wants zoning of its 110 Greenlane and One Tree Hill residential properties changed from single house and mixed housing suburban to mixed housing urban, allowing for higher density development of the multimillion dollar sites.

The board cited the land's proximity to transport and the need to contain 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the city's future growth within the existing urban boundaries.

"Cornwall Park provides significant amenity for more intensive housing development surrounding the park," the board said in a 23-page submission with maps and plans prepared by Mark Vinall of consultancy Tattico. He was once the council's manager for central area planning.

One lessee read the submission with trepidation, saying he feared what it meant.

"True to form, the board has made submissions to the council requesting rezoning of many properties in Maungakiekie Ave and Wheturangi Rd to become multi-site dwellings. I presume this is so they can significantly increase the lease fees upon renewal with new valuations," he said.

"They have done this with no consultation whatsoever with the lessees - hardly the best way to 'build better relationships' with lessees, quoting the chairman."

Leaseholders have complained of annual lease payment fees of $70,000 or more annually, some abandoning their places while one is fighting the board in the High Court at Auckland. A decision on her case is yet to be released.

"Both the size of sections and their location adjacent to the edge of Cornwall Park, which provides amenity areas, will support an increased density of dwelling units," the board said.

Removal of pre-1944 building demolition controls and historic overlays on its properties was sought because buildings "are not of a sufficient standard to warrant the imposition of a demolition control".

Houses on Wheturangi Rd, Maungakiekie Ave and Waitapu Ave are also subject to another special overlay: built environment, special character.

The board wants that deleted because it could hamper longer term plans and welcomes the park being a specific precinct but says it should be "afforded a greater degree of autonomy in RMA planning instruments which related to the park, particularly in operations, maintenance and renewal of park infrastructure".

The board sought no changes to the zoning of its St Cuthbert's College land, saying that was special purpose education which was appropriate. The board owns part of the school's site, which it leases to the school.

The board said the park was the premier recreation park on the Auckland isthmus, attracting four million visitors annually. It was established in 1901 by Sir John Logan Campbell who in 1908 gifted land to the trust, forming the residential properties bordering Market Rd, Wheturangi Ave, Maungakiekie Ave and Campbell Rd.

"It was gifted by Sir John to provide revenue for the development and maintenance of Cornwall Park and is known as endowment land," the submission said.

"The land which comprises the park is privately owned and its management, upkeep and development are privately funded from the board's own resources. The board makes the park available without cost to residents and ratepayers of Auckland and the wider New Zealand public and overseas visitors to the city," it said.

Cornwall Park Board land 
• Cornwall Park
• 110 One Tree Hill/Greenlane houses
• Part of St Cuthbert's College
• Part of Auckland Showgrounds' land
[Mark Vinall of Tattico for Cornwall Park Trust Board]

-NZ Herald