Public shut out from having a say on mega mall expansion

No say for public on enormous St Lukes mall expansion.

There will be no public input into the expansion of Auckland’s St Lukes mall.

Auckland Council’s hearing committee says the resource consent application from the mall’s owner, Scentre Group, to increase the mall’s footprint from 4ha to nearly 7.7ha will go ahead on a non-notified basis.

Hearings panel chairwoman Linda Cooper says all the effects in the application are considered less than minor but the mall owner’s plan has deeply upset locals, who say the surge in traffic that will result from a bigger shopping centre is not acceptable.

They say they have not agreed to the huge increase in traffic, despite a council document saying they have.

The council says the mall owner already has a 2011 resource consent to extend the mall.

The new application makes some amendments and additions to the already consented proposal, including the replacement of rooftop parking and expanding retail areas.

Ms Cooper says the proposal is in line with the St Lukes Concept Plan, which was developed following extensive public consultation.

When the green light was given for St Lukes to be rezoned as a town centre three years ago, the owners said they had no immediate plans to develop it.

At the time there were public concerns over traffic effects and development on Aroha Ave and adjoining streets, visual effects and the alleged overdevelopment of the site. The council said mediation has eased those concerns.

However, some local residents were not appeased, with one labelling the mall as “ugly, soulless and pedestrian unfriendly” and it would only worsen if the development went ahead.

Ms Cooper says the proposal will have a height and separation distance to neighbouring properties that will avoid dominance, amenity or shadowing.

“It also considers all traffic aspects and does not anticipate additional parking demands on surrounding roads.”

Independent commissioners have been appointed to decide the outcome of the resource consent application.

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