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Victoria Road
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Devonport Heritage 2017, an incorporated society formed in 2017, promotes heritage and sustainable development in Devonport.

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Proposed plan change by Auckland Council could have significant effect on Devonport

Spokesperson McRae

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Auckland Council has notified Devonport residents by letter of a proposed plan change which seeks to “clarify the relationship between the Special Character Areas Overlay (SCAO) and the underlying zone provisions in the Auckland Unitary Plan”.

This proposed change is referred to as Plan Change 26 and relates to Chapter D18, special character areas overlay - residential and chapter E38, subdivision - urban of the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Residents have the opportunity to make a submission on this change. The deadline for this is 28 June (this has now been extended by 2 weeks to the 12th July). Details here on Auckland Council website with the online form to make a submission accesses here or you can download a form to complete and post.

As a background, this proposed change is the direct result of the blunder brought to light last year when hundreds of resource consents were found to be invalid. The heart of the problem outlined at the time was that the rules for the underlying Single Housing Zone (SHZ) as defined in the Auckland Unitary Plan which applied broadly across Auckland was found to be in conflict on specific matters to the Special Character Areas Overlay (SCAO) that is in place to protect the special heritage of suburbs in Auckland such as Devonport. Each of these sets of ‘rules’ had differing metrics and there was no clear instruction as to which prevail. The fact was that applicants and planning consultants had to assume that the most stringent rule should apply from both the SCAO and SHZ.

The Council now wish to solve this anomaly and propose that the SCAO prevail. This may seem simple and expedient, however this decision has significant implications that could affect the heritage of Devonport whilst seeming to protect this heritage.

There are 2 key issues that are judged by Devonport Heritage to be critical (i) Height in relation to boundary and (ii) the rear yard setback.

Height in relation to boundary

This rule seeks to impose a restriction on the side and rear boundaries of any new development such that a building cannot exceed an envelope described by an imaginary line which rises 2.5m or 3m from the boundary line and then inclines inward to the section at a 45 degree angle. The diagrams below describe this rule.

The SCAO rule for height in relation to boundary defines the envelope based on a 3m vertical height and then a 45 degree incline. This is far more imposing than the standard of the SHZ for all of Auckland which is based on a 2.5m vertical height and then a 45 degree incline. The outcome of this proposed more lenient rule is that building can be built higher with great bulk and visual impact with the 3m @45 degree envelope as the diagram shows.

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Rear yard setback

There are boundary limit for side yards in the SCAO which require that no building is less than 1.2m from the boundary. However for the rear yard the proposal is to reduce the current 3m boundary to just 1m. This has a significant visual impact of new building as seen from neighbouring properties.

The diagram below shows for the same sized building the impact of building within the original 3m setback.

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A very important consequence of relaxing the 3m setback for the rear yard is the impact it could have in areas of Devonport where sections near corner junctions have rear yards adjacent to side yards as the diagram below shows.

Property A is on a different street to property B & C. Property A’s rear year abuts the side yard of Property C, whilst the side yard of Property A abuts the rear yard of Property B.

Property C would be significantly impacted if the 1m rear year rule were to apply as any proposed building would be hugely more visible from the garden of Property C, also potentially impact daylight shading.

The ability to build as close as 1m from the boundary to a neighbour’s side yard would have significant impact on the value and enjoyment of a neighbours property even it is in their back garden.

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Devonport Heritage submission opposing cruise ship mooring on Queens Wharf

Spokesperson McRae


Devonport Heritage have been actively engaged in the challenging of the proposed construction of what are described as ‘dolphins’ to be built beyond the end of Queens Wharf as a means to accomodate mega cruise ships. These ships (Ovation of the Seas as an example) are too large to be berthed at the current wharfs and this in the opinion of the Ports of Auckland and Panuku hinders the ability of the cruise ship operators to provide shore access to cruise ship passengers. Currently these cruise ships anchor in the middle of the harbour and ferry their passengers to shore by tenders.

Devonport Heritage made a presentation to the hearing on this matter on Tuesday 26th February at Auckland Town Hall. Below is the full presentation script and images presented to support the challenge to the proposal.

1.My name is Margot McRae, I am deputy chair of Devonport Heritage and my colleague Alistair Helm is a committee member.

Devonport Heritage has advocated for the protection of the built and natural heritage of Devonport for 25 years. The Society has opposed harbour extensions since 2012 and we took part in the Port Future Study.

We support the evidence given by Heart of the City, Urban Auckland and the associated groups.

2. Auckland harbour has for long. been defined by the iconic views across from the city to Devonport and the backdrop of Rangitoto. Such images such as these early views looking north to Devonport and Rangitoto by JC Hoyt have cone to define Auckland. Another from the central waterfront towards Devonport by Charles Bloomfeld . A very early photograph from the first Queens Wharf. And this in 1905 with the ferries and Devonport in the background.

These images show that for well over a hundred years people have been captivated by this iconic view and by the relationship between the settlement and the harbour.

From the earliest days this view has been celebrated through paintings and photography.

*Today’s artists are still capturing this view – here’s a Mary Taylor etching.

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I think we can say that this truly is an iconic Auckland view, one that has symbolised Auckland’s relationship with its inner harbour and the Devonport peninsula for nearly 180 years.

3. We believe the Panuku proposal will destroy this view.

I failed to find anywhere in the applicant’s mountain of evidence an image which shows how this view from Queens Wharf will change when a mega ship is in place.

Is Panuku saying that only the effects of the mooring buoys and the gangway need to be considered? You cannot consider the effects of this proposal unless you include the effects of the mega ships themselves. Like ignoring the elephant in the room.

So, we used the Boffa Miskell photo and superimposed a mega ship on it because how else can you gauge the effects of this proposal on wharf-users?

4. This is the view you will have. That iconic view will be wrecked. And this photo is taken from the western-most edge of the wharf. The view from the centre and eastern side will be even worse. The 14-storey ship will obliterate the view.

The dolphins and gangway will alter the relationship between the city and its harbour. And when a mega ship is in place this celebrated view to the north that takes in Devonport and the three volcanoes, the harbour gateway - this will be lost for the Summer months of the year when people are most attracted to the wharf.

If this project is approved, it will sacrifice this iconic view and the public use of Queens Wharf simply to make it easier for cruise passengers to get on and off their ships.

That is in essence what this whole proposal is about.

5. In its application Panuku has dismissed the amenity and landscape values of Queens Wharf for the sake of the cruise ship industry.

The proposal ignores the fact that Queens Wharf was opened up to the public only a few years ago to enable Aucklanders to access this stupendous view, to let them finally get right to the harbour edge. On the one hand the council wants to attract people to Queens Wharf and on the hand it will lessen their ability to experience it fully. Where’s the logic in that?

6. Panuku has also ignored its own Master Plans and Waterfront Plans, Central Wharves Strategy etc. to proceed instead with an ad hoc approach to try to fix space constraints at the port. And its timing is so wrong. It would be far more logical if this proposal was considered after the Ferry Basin hearing has been decided.

The Cruise Industry

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7. Some submissions claim that Auckland tourism will suffer, cruise ships will be turned away and that even regional tourism will be seriously affected if this project doesn’t go ahead.

There have been claims that unless the dolphins are built there will be dire consequences for the tourism industry.

8. Well clearly other submitters have shown these claims to be exaggerated.

For instance Mr Blakely states there is ‘no capacity constraint’ on cruise ships coming here and in fact there are three times more slots available than there are visits.

He also finds that growth of the industry willcontinueeven if the dolphins aren’t approved.

9. There is also much debate in New Zealand and internationally about the real benefits of cruise tourists.

An International Symposium in Charleston North Carolina in 2013, (Google) found that shore-based tourists spent 10 times morethan cruise visitors in Charleston.

A North Shore City Council tourism survey 8 years ago showed that cruise visitors spent an average of only $20 a day on the Shore.

10. And Aucklanders are not convinced that they even want dozens more cruise ships and the mega ships coming in such numbers. All around the world towns, cities and ports are saying noto these giant ships.

Venice will ban large cruise ships from the city centre in 2021 because of both visual and environmental pollution and damage to the city walls.

Dubrovnik has cut down cruise ship numbers to only two a day and the Mayor said -

“We are ready to lose some money but we will have a better quality of life for our citizens and tourists” (Guardian Newspaper)

World-wide evidence shows that cruise ships harm the environments they visit.

Their emissions have increased by 13% a year and in some Norwegian fjords they have caused pollution that is equal to that of London, according to The Guardian newspaper.

These places and many others around the world are realising that cruise ships bring more problems than benefits and that they can ruin the very beauty of the places they visit.

11.Yet despite this growing world-wide opposition, the Cruise Industry keeps on building bigger and bigger ships. And Auckland Council and Ports of Auckland are ignoring the negatives that result from the industry.

They have put the cruise industry’s needs above all other users of the harbour and Queens Wharf.

12. Devonport Heritage was part of the Port Future Study and one main finding was that eventually there would be a trigger that would activate the decision to move the port.

This is the trigger. The time is now.

This application makes it clear that the Port is too small to handle everything it wants to do. It has outgrown its site.

Auckland Council can’t ignore this fact and continue to tinker with the site in order to squeeze more activities in.

Most Aucklanders do not want any further expansion into the harbour and this is just another version of expansion, disguising itself as being temporary. 15 years is not temporary.

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Ferry Chaos

13. Much has been made in the application about the economic benefits the dolphins will bring the city.

But nothing has been said about the economicnegativesthat will result from the effect of this project on the working lives of Aucklanders.

Because the Waitemata Harbour is Devonport and Takapuna’s highway to the city.

Thousands of North Shore people take the ferry to work every day. And they will be severely impacted by reductions and delays in the ferry services.

14. The Fullers submission makes it absolutely clear – there will be ‘significant adverse effects on the ferries and other operators’ if this project is approved.

It will put a further constraint on the most congested area of the harbour and affect all ferry routes – and Devonport most of all. Fullers state that the frequency of the existing 15 minute Devonport ferry service will have to be reduced.

These statements strike panic in the minds of ferry commuters.

15. According to Fullers 1.8 million passengers use the Devonport ferry every year.

What about the economic negative that cancelled ferries and late ferries will have on these Aucklanders?

16. Auckland Council is ignoring its own aims of getting more people off the roads and into public transport. If the ferry service becomes less reliable it will condemn more Devonport and North Shore residents to rely on Lake Road, the most congested road in Auckland. This is incredibly short-sighted and irresponsible.

17. The ferry service is a vital public transport link and significantly reduces road congestion. And if approved, this project will be a disaster for the hundreds of thousands of Devonport, Takapuna and Waiheke commuters who use the ferries to get to work.

I’d like to introduce my colleague Alistair Helm to look at the effects the cruise ship industry is already having on our ferry service.

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Present Cruise Ships Effect

18. There are 16 ferry routes from downtown Auckland – spanning the region and providing a core arterial public transport system to complement bus and trains. However, whereas much success has been achieved in securing priority busways, ferries appear to be treated as a second-class operator to the priority of cruise ships. For whilst the primary concern is to the impact of ever larger cruise ships, consideration should be made as to the current impact.

19. Ferry schedules are impacted by cruise ship movements to the detriment of travellers, especially heavily impacted are Devonport travellers due to the very high frequency of trips, which creates a sense of confidence in the traveller to rely upon the expected travel time of c. 12-minutes.

20. When the Devonport ferry is disrupted by cruise ship movements, ferry passengers suffer. A scheduled 12-minute ride can become a 60-minute ride. I experienced such a situation just over a week ago as a 9.30am Devonport ferry was delayed for an hour while a cruise ship moored in Princes wharf, unable to access the ferry terminus due to tugs operating in the area.

(below is the Twitter stream as a reflection of the frustration of a single trip to Auckland City taking 60 minutes)

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21. Such disruption is not a one-off experience but is becoming a regular and frustrating situation, one that will undoubtedly become more common place as the number and scale of cruise ships grows, relegating the core Devonport ferry network to an unreliable secondary public transport backwater.


In essence this project comes down to a choice between the needs of the Cruise Industry and the needs of Aucklanders.

Between people who want to enjoy Queens Wharf as it was intended, the place where residents and visitors can appreciate this quintessential, historic view.

It’s a choice between making life easier for cruise lines and passengers or the need to retain essential commuter links from the North Shore and Gulf Islands to the central city.

It’s a choice between residents and tourists.

We support the planner’s recommendations for this application and ask you to respect the needs and wishes of Aucklanders and decline consent.

Cruise ship mooring expansion should be rejected

Spokesperson McRae

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A crucial hearing on the future of Queens Wharf starts in Auckland this week.

Panuku is applying for resource consent to construct two mooring ‘dolphins’ up to 82 metres out from Queens Wharf for mega cruise ships to berth.


There is huge opposition to the proposal from many groups including Stop Stealing Our Harbour, Urban Auckland, Heart of the City as well as Devonport Heritage. Even an independent report prepared for the Auckland Council development agency states that the proposal should be refused.

The hearing opens on Monday 18 February when Panuku will put its case. The opponents will put their case from 9.30am Monday 25 February. Devonport Heritage will be speaking on Tuesday 26 February at 11.15am.

The hearing is at the Auckland Town hall council chambers in Queen Street. Please come along to the hearing on Monday or Tuesday, Feb 25 or 26, and show your support for those defending the Waitemata Harbour from Port expansion.

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Urban Auckland is looking to raise funds to support the legal representation for a submission to the Resource Consent hearing.

Financial assistance is once again needed to fight Auckland Council from extending into our harbour!

A 90 metre EXTENSION OF QUEENS WHARF by 2 concrete ‘dolphins’ to berth over-size Cruise Ships:Resource Consent, being sought by Panuku/ Auckland Council, is about to go before the Planning Hearing Commissioners on February 18th.

The proposal is to put two concrete mooring pads off the end of Queens Wharf extending out into the harbour for a length of 90.5 metres, with a 35 year lease. That’s permanent.

The buoys are to enable the berthage of ‘over-size’ cruise ships, such as the Ovation of the Seas, which is scheduled to come to Auckland for 7 days this summer season. The ships arrive in the morning and leave at the end of the day. As they do in Sydney, the ship moors in the harbour using stationary positioning technology, and the 4,000 passengers on board are shuttled back and forth in tenders. Given the size of the vessels in relation to the locations they visit, this is not unusual. Nowhere in the Southern Hemisphere are they berthed right in the centre of a destination’s downtown.

Under pressure from the cruise industry, Auckland Council is bending over backwards to accommodate these ‘over-size’, 348-362 metre long ships, carrying up to 4-6,000 passengers, right on Queens Wharf, with an industrial scale extension that will severely compromise the future development of Queens Wharf as the marae atea of our city.

We are not against cruise ships. They have always been a welcome addition to our harbour and city life. Traditionally bigger ships, such as the 345m Queen Mary 2, have been berthed (enthusiastically) by Ports of Auckland at Jellicoe Wharf. But cruise ships will continue to increase in size and number and Auckland Council has, to date, NO long-term plan or funding in place for the Waterfront or its development. This total lack of management of our Waitematā Waterfront beggars belief.

In 2008, Queens Wharf was bought from the Ports of Auckland by the Crown and local government to become the People’s Wharf, an important civic space where the city meets the sea. The importance of Queens Wharf historically in the formation of Auckland as a city, inevitably continues into the future. At the northern end of Queens Wharf where it reaches into the sea, there is a natural expectation of openness and engagement with the Waitematā Harbour. This will be unacceptably compromised by the proposed concrete pads and gangways.

Auckland Council is also not taking into account:

The Upper North Island Supply Chain Study (port and logistics infrastructure), currently being undertaken by Government. This may well see a sizable chunk of Port activity being relocated to Northport, freeing up port berthage for cruise industry growth.

The proposed extension of ferry terminals along the western side of Queens Wharf. This will substantially alter the number of people on Queens Wharf. NO investigation has been made of the cumulative effect of 4,000 extra people arriving by cruise ship and the attendant servicing, buses, transport, truck deliveries, tour guides etc on the use of Queens Wharf by local people.

The effect of the mooring buoys on local boat traffic, especially ferries. Fullers anticipate it adversely affecting their current half-hour scheduling for Devonport ferries, disrupting service.

We dispute Auckland Council’s claims that the Cruise ships will go elsewhere and that valuable jobs will be lost. The great majority of cruise ships being smaller come here quite happily. We want growth to be appropriately planned.

Berthage of ships of this magnitude should be the responsibility of Ports of Auckland. POAL argue that they have no room for 5-10 ship visits for 12 hours at a time. Meanwhile, they are looking at closing Bledisloe Wharf for three weeks for a car rally!!! There are other options available for them to manage their schedule and Auckland Council, as 100% shareholder, should be making that very clear to them.

We are calling for this ad-hoc short-sighted proposal to be turned down.

Instead, a vision and planning process should be underway NOW.

We would like to see the Mayor show leadership on this critical issue and begin a proper inclusive shareholder consultation process, using the same model undertaken with the Ports Future Study.

Urban Auckland is fronting a submission to the Resource Consent hearing, on behalf of other community groups (City Centre, Parnell and Devonport residents, the Civic Trust, Auckland Architectural Association and Stop Stealing Our Harbour) in a legal process that is likely to cost us $60-70,000.

Our High Court legal battle to stop the port expansion in 2015 cost $250,000. Fortunately, the 220m development of Halsey Wharf for the America’s Cup bases was resolved in our favour before it became expensive. We can’t believe the people of Auckland are still having to fight these battles of expansion into the Waitematā, without a vision for the future of our Waterfront.

We urgently ask for your financial support.

thank you! – Julie Stout, Chair, Urban Auckland-

Challenge to be be made to reject proposed Gull self service station planned for Cheltenham

Spokesperson McRae

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Devonport Heritage is making a formal objecting to the proposal by Gull NZ to install an unmanned petrol facility at the site of the current Tainui Motors at 66 Vauxhall Road, Devonport.

Here is the full submission

Application No: LUC60320673

Name of the Applicant: Gull NZ

Devonport Heritage Inc opposes the application

Trish Deans Chairperson 14.02.19

What are the reasons for your submission:

1. Significant adverse effects on amenity and streetscape:

The Gull proposal is simply a replica of Gull’s ‘brand’ design/layout’ inclusive of the brand signage and winged canopies. Mr Stenberg, Council’s Principal Urban Design Specialist, correctly describes the proposed design as making no contribution to the characteristic special character streetscape that identifies Devonport.

Gull have not considered the objectives and policies of the AUP. Gull has not understood the purpose of the previous North Shore District Plan nor the Devonport Borough Council District Plan which endeavoured to ensure that all residents and businesses were cognisant of the guidelines and regulations that protect Devonport’s heritage streetscapes and amenity.

There appears to be a conflict “Gull’s Brand” vs “Devonport Streetscape”. The dominance of Gull’s brand layout and signage is not compatible with and will undermine the AUP’s objectives, policies and regulation that protect Devonport’s special character zone.

The AUP policies and objectives that emphasise the importance of streetscape, natural features, the visual relationship in heritage area are clearly defined:

3 Special Character Objectives

All special character areas

  1. The special character values of the area, as identified in the special character statement, are maintained and enhanced, including the history, community associations and the overall notable or distinctive aesthetic or physical qualities of the area.

  2. The physical attributes that define, contribute to, or support the character of the area are retained, including:

a. built form, design and architectural values of buildings and their contexts

b. streetscape qualities, including historical form, subdivision and patterns of streets and roads

c. landscape qualities and/or natural features including topography, vegetation and open spaces.

3. Activities and development that detract from or undermine the special character of the area are avoided.

North Shore

10 .The landscape qualities of residential areas that display a special blend of built and natural features, generally involving period housing coupled with the presence of trees, are maintained and enhanced.

11. The topographic qualities and the distinctive landforms that contributed to the development of built form and subdivision patterns in residential areas are maintained and enhanced.


All Special Character overlays

3. Maintain and do not detract from the continuity or coherence of the special character, particularly streetscape qualities through alterations, additions and modifications to the built form.

4. Retain and enhance the built form, design and architectural values of the area by controlling new buildings, alterations, additions and modifications in a way that:

a. is sympathetic in design, scale and massing, and is of a compatible form which contributes to, supports or defines the special character of the area

Protection and use of Special Character business overlay
7. Require new buildings or additions to existing buildings, which adjoin or are adjacent to character-defining or character-supporting buildings, to respond sympathetically to the context of the area by providing contemporary and high-quality design which respects and enhances the built form and streetscape of the area.

Alterations to buildings in Special Character business overlay

11. Require alterations, for special character defining buildings, to be in keeping with and sympathetic to, the established context, adjacent character buildings, and development patterns. Materials should be similar or sympathetic to the existing and should retain or reveal the architectural form, proportion and style of the building.

Protection and use of Special Character general overlay

23. Require development and change within the special character area to retain and maintain those features, qualities and attributes that contribute to the special character, such as:

d. streetscape and context

e. visual relationship with the street or landscape features

f. landscape, vegetation and topography.

Currently the Vauxhall Road streetscape is a pedestrian friendly environment. The small set of café and boutique shops have formed a community hub where families with children, older relatives and everyone’s dogs congregate with ease. It has taken a long time to re-build this community environment, in reality most corner shops are in decline and neighbourhoods don’t have a nucleus for meeting. This proposal will dominate the current safe pedestrian and local amenity. The predicted higher traffic use, an increase that is six-fold, will dominate all other positive activities. Gull’s actions directly conflict with the AUP policies and objectives as the proposalcrams in the facility and Gull is forced to disregard the mandatory landscaping requirements to achieve its aims.

Gull is failing to meet the Council’s provisions that make landscaping mandatory. Gull is arguing that its proposal is an improvement in this heritage zone, but they aren’t willing to comply with landscaping along Vauxhall Road. Landscaping would provide a buffer and a screen that would make a positive contribution to the amenity of the area. The site is constrained and limited in area and Gull is seeking to achieve its standardized layout without regard to heritage and amenity of the area. This proposal has a negative and significant adverse impact on the streetscape quality of the existing neighbourhood centre.

It should be noted that the report by Council’s Senior Built Heritage Specialist has failed to identify:

i) the Category B buildings and listed Category A Watson Clock that are opposite the Gull site

ii) the 30meter rule for signage adjacent to listed buildings

iii) the incompatibility of the signage to the visual amenity

iv) has not discussed the importance of natural heritage in relation to the lack planting along Vauxhall Road. Devonport is renown for its natural heritage and visual amenity.

2. The significant adverse effects of non-compliance of the yards:

It is apparent that the location of the three pumps are at the core of the issues of the non-compliance of the yard. The placement of the pumps obstructs the ‘full extent of the required planting’ adjacent to Tainui Road and prohibit the landscape buffer along the Vauxhall Street frontage from being realised.

The result of this layout plan is that the concrete surface of the forecourt will be a vast open space. Again, the net effect of the absence of the landscaping along Vauxhall Road is that the high-quality streetscape will be significantly adversely affected. The setback and planting issues are critical to the contextual fit.

3. The adverse effect of Gull’s proposal to maximize the site area.

Gull has simply presented a proposal that reflects its standardized design format that makes all its unmanned service station identical and undistinguishable from any other. Gull have not taken not account the AUP policies and objectives that emphasise the importance of streetscape, typography, natural features, the visual relationship in heritages.

I have described the significant adverse effects in points 1 and 2.

4. The significant adverse effect of Gull’s inability to provide the ‘full extent of the required landscaping’

I have described the significant adverse effects in points 1 and 2.

5. The significant adverse effect of the Gull brand design/ layout.

Gull has failed to meet the standard set by the AUP objective and policies that prescribe and define the importance of the streetscape, landscape and visual amenity in a Business-Neighbourhood Centre Zone.

I reiterate, there is a conflict between “Gull’s Brand” vs “Devonport Streetscape”. The dominance of Gull’s brand layout and signage is not compatible with and will undermine the AUP’s objectives, policies and regulation that protect Devonport’s special character zone.

6. The significant adverse effect of Gull’s proposed signage:

Gull’s proposed signage does not comply with the Signage Bylaw 2015. The Gull brand signage fails meet the AUP standard to enhance and improve the heritage streetscape and the visual amenity of a heritage area. It is very concerning that this application for signage has not been fully scrutinised.

The proposed 6.3m freestanding LED lit sign appears to be in conflict with the Auckland Signage Bylaw 2015 policy which states;

E23 6.1.Signs(c) not be placed within a scheduled view shaft or within 30 metres of a scheduled historic and heritage place

Plan Change 38, Schedule of Buildings, Objects and Places of Heritage Significance lists No 87 Vauxhall Road, former AMC Butcher Shop, 89 Vauxhall Road, Commercial Building, and 91A Vauxhall Road, shop including veranda as Category B buildings. The Watson Clock, 89 Vauxhall Road, is listed as Category A and is one of a number of Watson Clocks that form part of the Devonport scheduled items. This plan change was accepted and made operative by the AUP.

The Gull signage does not comply and must be declined.

The question about the status of ‘winged canopies’ must be answered by the Commissioners;

Are the winged canopies signage or a structure?

If the winged canopies are part of Gull’s brand signature I assume they can be described as signage and consequently they conflict with the E23 regulation in a heritage area.

If the ‘winged canopies’ are a structure then resource consent would be needed for them to comply as a structure. The design of these winged canopies do not meet the AUP objective statements H12.2 regarding form, scale and design quality.

The Gull brand signage and winged canopies fail to meet the AUP standard to enhance and improve the heritage streetscape and the visual amenity of a heritage area.

H12.2. Objectives

(2) Development is of a form, scale and design quality so that centres are reinforced

as focal points for the community.

(3) Development positively contributes towards planned future form and quality,

creating a sense of place.

Trish Deans

Chairperson Devonport Heritage 14.02.19

Greater transparency sought over Resource Consent blunder

Spokesperson McRae

Auckland Council seems reluctant to consider the impact on neighbours of properties which have been issued with resource consents which have been defined by the Environment Court as being issued in error due to incorrect process.

As detailed in the previous article, Auckland Council admitted back in August that it had issued around 420 resource consents which lay within Special Character Areas - Devonport being one of these areas of the City. These consents were found to have used only the criteria of this Special Character Area Residential (SCAR) Overlay in assessing scope of work rather than the underlying Single Housing Zone (SHZ) Overlay as well. As such these c. 420 consents would have to be re-submitted.

The Council have demonstrated a myopic view that the only parties affected by this blunder are the applicants - those wishing to undertake the work, and have rallied around to support the applicants to get the re-submitted consents processed and approved.

At Devonport Heritage we judge that affected parties in such situations where the Council has been at fault extend beyond the applicants. The neighbours would rightly feel they are an affected party in this situation where the council have been found to follow due process. That is why we made a written request to the Council for them to provide the addresses of all of those applicants of these resource consents. It was our judgement that such a move would be in the best interests of the community and should force the Council into demonstrating a greater sense of responsibility for their error and also providing greater transparency. It is important to note that Resource Consents once issued become public record so the Council providing such a list of addresses (not the owners) breaches no confidentiality.

The request for this public list of addresses was made on the 17th September. On the 15th October a letter was received from Auckland Council denying the request for the list of addresses.

The letter above cites Section 7(2)(a) of the Local Government Official Information and Meeting Act. This clause states:

Subject to sections 6, 8, and 17, this section applies if, and only if, the withholding of the information is necessary to—
(a) protect the privacy of natural persons, including that of deceased natural persons; or

The interpretation of this in simple plain english is that the request is denied to protect a person’s privacy. The request was for addresses of properties that proposed to have construction work undertaken, not the names of the applicants. Such addresses are in principle public, therefore not breaching anyones privacy. (As an aside but of relevance is the fact that this letter referred to both the general public release of all addresses, as well a personal request I had concerning a neighbours house. The fact that the Council in the same letter shared what on the one hand they considered private for all addresses suddenly became public for one address, and in so doing showed that the Council really chose to deny the request without thinking.)

Subsequent to this letter Devonport Heritage (Trish Deans and Alistair Helm) were invited to attend and address the Heritage Advisory Panel for Auckland Council at their bi-monthly meeting on 23rd October.

At the meeting this request for the public release of the addresses was highlighted in addition to the broader issues of the blunder by the Council. The meeting is public record and the minutes are available online here

The Committee on receiving the presentation by Devonport Heritage fully shared Devonport Heritage’s concern over the Council’s handling of this issue and fully supported the request. The committee passed a resolution as detailed below:

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On the 30th October the Chair of the Heritage Advisory Panel submitted this letter to the CEO of Auckland Council Stephen Town.

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We intend to continue to pursue this matter and will update our community with the outcome and hopefully the list of addresses.

Auckland Council Blunder over Resource consents for Character Areas

Spokesperson McRae


The Auckland Council has announced that some Resource Consent Applications for houses in the Character Area Overlay zones, issued between 1 December 2016 and 19 December 2017 will now need to be reviewed because the process used was not a thorough and complete process. 

All of these consents are still legally valid but are now open to the challenge of a Judicial review in the High Court and work has stopped on up to five properties in the city while the problem is sorted out.

All homeowners whose Resource Consent was issued during this period will be notified of this situation by the 20 September 2018 and will be advised to undertake a process of re-submission for a new Resource Consent.

The background to this situation is that on the 1 December 2016 the Council began to assess Resource Consents under the Unitary Plan which had effectively created two sets of rules for character areas of the city, including Devonport.

There was the Single House Zone (SHZ) and also the Special Character Area Overlay (SCAR).

The rules conflicted on matters around site coverage, building envelopes and height to boundary and was a source of great frustrattion from developers, owners and planners trying to work with the rules.

So Auckland Council decided that only the Special Character Overlay rules should apply and for a year this was the norm.

But these overlay rules focused only on the character of the streetscape and were more generous about site coverage and height to boundary rules. It also meant  there was far less attention given to neighbours’ and the general amenity of a proposal.

The Council planner sought guidance from the Environment Court that they were interpreting their own rules correctly and late last year the Court ruled that they were not doing so. 

The Court ruled that the underlying zone controls (SHZ) should also be applicable even where inconsistent with SCAR and despite Council’s intention when drafting the rules.

All this means that some resource consents may have been wrongly granted or that neighbours should have been notified.

The council is now contacting all property owners who had been issued with a Resource Consent in Devonport during this period. They will need to make their own decision about  re-submitting a Resource Consent but the Council has stated that all existing issued consents during this period remain legally valid.



If you think you may have been affected by a nearby development and were not consulted these are the steps you can take:

-       Contact the Council to confirm if the Resource Consent for the house in question was issued during this period and therefore is subject to a review. 

-       Raise your concern with the Council to ensure that the re-submitted Resource Consent takes into account to the impact on your property. The Council will make this assessment under both the SCAR and SHZ at the time of the re-submitted Resource Consent.

-       If you believe you have been adversely affected you should contact firstly the Council Planning department. The General Manager Resource Consents is Ian Smallburn after that then a planning consultant or lawyer.

-       The last resort is to make a judicial review to the High Court which can decide whether the resource consent is invalid. 



The good news from this council blunder is that the Council Regulatory director Penny Pirrit says the decision means there will have to be greater scrutiny of resource consents which will require more input from neighbours.

Instead of just considering how the character property will look from the street, the council will also have to consider wider amenity issues.

Devonport Heritage - the final curtain- heritage film night

Claudia Page


Two Houses , One Theatre - ONE NIGHT ONLY
This is the last hurrah for Devonport Heritage. We're going out with a celebration film night after 22 years of lobbying in Devonport. Please join us with your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues for this special evening, Monday 3 October, 7.30 p.m.

The first film features a heritage-scheduled arts and crafts style Takapuna home designed by renowned architect James Chapman-Taylor . This house has been lived in by one family for over 80 years. We take a rare inside look at a home that has been lovingly preserved in it's 1920's state, taking us back in time to the era of  The End of the Golden Weather.  Our second film follows the story of 3 generations of the Jackson family and their home at 1 Jubilee Avenue. This has an even longer family association of 117 years, which we believe is a record in Devonport.
We're also delighted to be screening the 2015 film The Show Must Go On following the early stages of saving the historic venue the St James Theatre.


book at the Vic 09 4460100 or

Notice of Special General Meeting

3.30 p.m. Sunday 16 October 2016


53 Tainui Road, Devonport


Confirmation of resolution made at 14 September meeting to appoint a liquidator
for further information please e-mail the Secretary

Childcare Centre consent declined

Claudia Page

The consent for converting the historic villa a 159 Victoria Road into a daycare centre has been turned down by Auckland Council. The full consent is lengthy, but here are the comments with regards to heritage."

"The adaptation of this significant Victorian villa into a large childcare centre will place pressures upon the heritage values of this 1886 house. While the additions at the rear can be supported, it is the carparking and driveway in the front yard that adversely impacts upon the stret elevation. The size of the proposed centre and the number of carparks generated has led to the total area in front of the dwelling being given over to car parking with minimal landscaping to provide the setting referred to by Mr Salmond. While the villa has always sat below the road level, the proposal to raise the carpark up closer to the verandah deck level will effectively lower the base of the house from view and alter the classic proportions of the villa, where the verandah currently sits on a 'plinth' and requires entry steps. We do not support the loss of heritage character as caused by the location of a crowded car park in the front yard of this historic villa."

....still waiting

Claudia Page


Devonport Heritage are still waiting on  crucial Council decisions on the Unitary Plan, and not even our local councillors will tell us the results of the council deliberations.  Council met for four days of debate and decision making but the minutes are not yet published.

Message to our Councillors who are deciding on the Unitary Plan:

Claudia Page

Dear Councillor,        

 The IHP recommends changing the 9 metre Height Sensitive Area for the Devonport centre to allow buildings up to 13 metres  -  and council staff agree.


Devonport is the only one of all HSAs and Volcanic Cone Viewshafts to be singled out for this treatment.  (Agenda Item 5.3 D) 

We ask that you reject these recommendations and stand by the decision your committee made in April  not to alter the Devonport HSA. 

Takarunga/Mt Victoria is a significant volcanic cone and has been a majestic backdrop to the Devonport centre for 160 years. The unique value of the victorian buildings and their relationship to the maunga is recognized throughout New Zealand.

Yet the IHP’s recommendation contradicts its decision on a similar proposal for the HSA at the Elizabeth Knox site on Mt St John.

In that case the Panel stated the resource consent process would be the best way of dealing with some sites where building through the HSA height limit would not affect views to the maunga.

This is exactly the same situation for the Devonport centre: development will be able to occur because the resource consent process will allow buildings to exceed 9 metres if it is proven there will be no loss of views to Mt Victoria.

There is a simple choice:  -  the 9 metre HSA will protect views of Mt Victoria

                                          -  the 13 metre limit will not.

 Surely in the great Auckland Supercity there is room to respect the enduring connection between this maunga and the little town at its feet.

                     We ask that you stand by your decision to fully preserve the Devonport Centre HSA.


Margot McRae

For Devonport Heritage Inc. 

Upper Victoria Road panorama 2016

Fort Takapuna could intensify to 5 storeys

Claudia Page

Fort Cautley in foreground with Fort Takapuna at the rear.  Narrow Neck Auckland. Image Google Earth   

Fort Cautley in foreground with Fort Takapuna at the rear.  Narrow Neck Auckland. Image Google Earth


Devonport Heritage's submission to the Unitary Plan to have the Fort Takapuna/ Fort Cautley precinct zoned Residential Single house zone has fallen on deaf ears.

In our submission we asked that once the Navy vacate the site, that the best zoning would be to match that of the surrounding residential sites. That call has failed and the new zoning will allow up to 5-storey development to occur. Read the North Shore Times story here...