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Auckland Council takes itself to court over luxury apartment block

Newshub logoNewshub 7/05/2019 Tom McRae
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Auckland Council is taking itself to court - and a group of retirees are caught in the middle of it.

Panuku, the development arm of the council, has proposed more than 100 apartments in Mt Eden. But if it's granted consent, it would back onto a block of pensioner housing.

A peaceful cuppa in the afternoon sun is all these retirees want, but they fear a proposed five-storey apartment building right on their boundary will ruin that.

"Five storeys is a little bit much, and I don't want people overlooking me," one resident told Newshub.

They're not opposed to the site being developed, they just want it capped at four storeys.

"We'd totally lose all our privacy out here," another says. "Most of us have little back gardens that we've put money into, and we enjoy sitting out there late in the afternoon."

Panuku wants to build 102 luxury apartments on the corner of Dominion Rd and Valley Rd. It would be high-end - no social or affordable housing here.

Last year, Auckland Council refused Panuku permission to build to five storeys. But Panuku is fighting the decision in the Environment Court, meaning one part of council is effectively taking another through a very expensive legal process.

a car parked on the side of a building: One arm of the council is facing off with another - all at the taxpayer's expense. © Image: Supplied; Video: Newshub One arm of the council is facing off with another - all at the taxpayer's expense.

"Yes, we have spent money and it is a concern," says Panuku director of design and place, Rod Marler.

"It's not a considerable amount. We've spent $115,000 to date. In the overall scheme of things we think that was necessary to achieve the outcomes we're seeking."

The residents see it another way.

"It just sounds like a whole lot of rigmarole for nothing," one resident says.

And they're gearing up to have their voices heard at the public hearing in July.

"It's not over 'til it's over. We'll keep fighting to the end," another told Newshub.

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