The Auckland Unitary Plan and Milford
How many billions of words - spoken and written - have flowed since Auckland's draft Unitary Plan was released on 15 March this year? We would all find it hard to think of another Auckland issue that has generated so much energy.
Milford people have certainly contributed their share to this conversation. From the first Local Board walkabout and meeting at the Baptist Church to MRA's own packed meeting (around 500) at Milford School on 4 April, the words, letters and submissions have flowed to tell Council how wrong their proposals are for Milford.
MRA's feedback on the Unitary Plan
At the meeting in the school hall, Planning Manager Penny Pirrit said the message that we didn't like the Plan was clear but challenged us to 'tell us what you want'. MRA had already decided to produce a substantial report on Milford as our feedback for the Unitary Plan so we were very happy to take up her invitation. Eventually, we wrote two reports: one focussed almost entirely on height and the second discussed the many other aspects of the proposed Plan, for example, setbacks, notifications, infrastructure, etc.
The Auckland Counci's response to our reports has been very positive. We were pleased to see Ann Hartley refer to Milford in her article in the North Shore Times on 27 June 2013. She said we were 'comprehensive, well-considered and specific, and (the submission) will enable us to negotiate a number of significant adjustments to the Plan, including (a) consolidation of the proposed development of the town centre, (2) a reduction in the height of residential development and a limite of 3 storeys rather than 4 and (3) a smoother transition between zones. This has the potential to be a very positive outcome for Milford.
Milford Visioning Project
One of the strengths of the MRA reports was the background community input through the Milford Visioning Project. This work, headed by Peter Carter of Milford Village Forum, is not finalised but we were able to use the substantive material as it stood to give a strong feel for the community's view. There will be further a opportunity for people to contribute to this Project so do take the chance to join in if you can.
The creation of the Auckland 'supercity' and the Unitary Plan have led to the parallel development of pan-Auckland residents groups. This first came about as existing groups (including MRA) felt that it was difficult to make their voices heard at Council level and that if, groups remained in our individual silos, Council would find it easy to divide and conquer us on most issues. MRA has joined three of these groups and supports their intentions and activities. We suggest you check out their websites as they have a wealth of information there.
The Character Coaltion is concerned to protect Auckland's built heritage and its character suburbs. We regard Milford as one of these suburbs. http://charactercoalition.org.nz/
Auckland 2040 formed during the Unitary Plan feedback period and has been highly critical of over-intensification of some suburbs and especially the zoning to allow three storey apartment buildings throughout the Mixed Housing Zone (49% of Auckland). MRA supports Auckland 2040 and their concerns. http://auckland2040.org.nz/
Auckland Regional Ratepayers & Residents Group. MRA belongs to this group who believe that residents associations will need to join together to be able to influence Council on major issues. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1211/S00606/auckland-region-residents-and-ratepayers-group.htm