Unitary Plan changes 'sad but necessary' - homeowner

Chris Smellie
Chris Smellie

Aucklanders are starting to come to terms with what the city will look like in the future following the release of the recommended Unitary Plan.

While many are lauding it, it's causing confusion for others. Some don't like what they see and are thinking of selling up and moving on.

Chris Smellie, 73, has lived on a Kumeu lifestyle block for half a century.

He says the new plans for Auckland, will force him to leave his house, are sad but necessary.

"It will be emotional when it (the house) goes, but people have to live somewhere - and I'm lucky that I have options about where to go next," he says.

"Once the area is rezoned to urban, the rating will become a factor for us, and we simply couldn't manage to pay the rates on the kind of area, or we couldn't pay urban rates on the kind of area we have."

The Unitary Plan, released yesterday, has rezoned the rural area northwest of the city for intensive housing.

Once adopted, the land can be subdivided.

Two of Mr Smellie's neighbours are already selling up to developers who are land-banking.

"[There's] one purchaser, and I think he's trying to aggregate these properties back into a larger block," he says.

The face of Kumeu is already changing - a nearby special housing area is already under construction.

Locals just want to see infrastructure keep-up with housing developments.

"To see what used to be a rural country town now become an extension of Auckland is quite shocking," one person says.

"But I'm not opposed to it, people need to live somewhere."

The latest plan has caused angst in other parts of thr city too, with some residents in Unsworth Heights left shocked to see a nearby park re-zoned for intensive housing.

"It's a very well used piece of recreational facility," says resident Jason Cordelle.

"This is parkland, it's not a residential building site."

But the council says that's a misunderstanding, because the maps hadn't been updated to show the park was protected.