Grey Lynn Residents Association represents the people of Grey Lynn. We do advocacy & activism work to make Grey Lynn the most liveable suburb in the world!
Why we exist…
- To provide a unified voice for the residents of Grey Lynn,
- To promote and protect the interests and welfare of Grey Lynn residents,
- To undertake advocacy and activism work to make Grey Lynn the most liveable suburb in the world!
Following are some examples of work we have recently undertaken on behalf of Grey Lynn residents…
In 2015 we hosted a public meeting at the Grey Lynn Library hall, where Waitemata Local Board members spoke to the Auckland Plan (in short, the major regional and local projects budgeted for the coming year). About 60 people attended.
Great North Road Ridge
Auckland Council’s designation of the Great North Road ridge as a Special Housing Area under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan has had an immediate and discernible effect. A raft of tall apartments are either built or under construction as the land-bankers cash up and sell to developers.
It is disturbing to see Council’s so-called ‘rule’ for no more than four storeys regularly exceeded by developers. Auckland Council has signed off on several 5- and 6-storey buildings. They also considered an application for a 7-storey building which would probably have gone ahead if not for our organised opposition.
Because Great North Road ridge is a Special Housing Area, Grey Lynn locals have no right to oppose 6-storey buildings consented under the Special Housing Areas Act. We favour intensification along the ridge, but the need for a detailed plan to ensure Great North Road doesn’t deteriorate into a shady wind tunnel and vehicle expressway with no life at street level is now critical.
Our second and major concern is that 6-storey buildings on the south side of Great North Road would cast many Arch Hill properties into permanent winter shadow. With this in mind we approached local architect Daniel Marshall. He very generously had his staff conduct a study to show where these buildings would cast their shadows across Arch Hill during winter. The report is now with Council. We hope it will be taken into account when officers consider applications for new buildings.
We don’t understand why Council planners didn’t do this themselves before rolling out the Special Housing Area designation on Great North Road ridge. Instead, that analysis was left to residents.
Waitemata Local Board member Vernon Tava responded to our concerns about the Great North Road ridge. He asked Auckland Council’s urban planning team to write a concept plan. The result is an appealing plan that could turn this part of Great North Road into an attractive boulevard. It also includes wider footpaths to encourage street-level cafés, bars and retail to operate. However it is only an early concept and not at all binding. We remain very concerned that the buildings are going up before this plan can be put into place and the opportunity to do something terrific will be lost.
Grey Lynn Park
We made detailed submissions on the plan for Grey Lynn Park. We were disappointed that some good suggestions weren’t adopted and that some things we expressly disagreed with remain in the plan. However we have to accept the process.
We continue to lobby officers to improve the standard of maintenance in the park but it seems a battle to achieve this when budgets have been cut.
We have been in close contact with Auckland Council regarding the proposed greenway/cycleway through the park. It overlays the main park along its entire course. There are concerns about cyclists riding at speed and colliding with children, prams, dogs on leashes, etc. We thought the layout and approach was too aggressively commuter-focussed for a recreational park. Auckland Council has taken much of this on board and adjustments have been made. We won’t know how successful the plan is until it is installed.
Grey Lynn Survey
Our biggest initiative in 2015 was a large survey of residents of Grey Lynn. We wanted to find out what you are concerned about and what you care about. The results were in many ways not surprising…
- You love Grey Lynn and care deeply about protecting the ‘Grey Lynn way of life’, in all its facets.
- You worry about intensification and higher density.
- You want to protect the heritage character of our streets of Edwardian houses.
- And you want Grey Lynn to maintain its lively, cruisy, tolerant and diverse atmosphere.
We thank the Waitemata Local Board for the grant which enabled us to carry the survey out. And we especially thank local resident Carol Gunn. Her research expertise means the report is of the highest order.
We supported an action group of Grey Lynn and Westmere residents in their battle to have a commercial development application rejected by making a submission to Council.
The new owners want to turn the residential zoned Little Grocer site on the corner of Peel St & Richmond Rd into a large-scale café operation. This is quite inappropriate for a residential site in a residential area surrounded by character villas. Even more so given that the area is already well serviced with many cafés in the nearby commercial areas of West Lynn and Richmond Road.
The site was previously a residential villa with small grocery store attached, very similar to Crumb café on the corner of Crummer Rd and Ariki St. If the owners of the Little Grocer site had proposed something similarly sympathetic to its residential zoning, we would have welcomed them with open arms. But turning the whole site, including the residential villa, into a large-scale café development is 10 steps too far.
We were successful in forcing them to give up on their plans to include a factory coffee roasting operation, and continue to oppose their large-scale café development plans. Watch this space!
Planning Advice to Grey Lynn Locals
We have been called on to support several Grey Lynn residents this year. Common concerns are the removal of houses and construction on neighbouring properties. This led us to develop an easy-to-follow 10-step guide to the planning process. The aim is to help residents understand what their rights are, what the developer’s rights and obligations are, and how to get redress through the system – if redress is available. We hope this will give Grey Lynn residents some comfort and some sort of an action plan if you are faced with a controversial development next door.
Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP)
Our extensive submissions on the Draft Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan resulted in a continual stream of invitations to various hearings with the Independent Hearings Panel. Because there were so many and the timetabling was so onerous, we prioritised the hearings to attend based on the key issues for our neighbourhood:
- heritage protection
We attended hearings on the important topics 079 and 080 – special character – where we mounted a strong case for the value of heritage and historic character.
We also wrote a detailed submission to the Productivity Commission on this matter.
This issue has taken many twists and turns since, but we feel we played a part in making sure a full heritage assessment of every Grey Lynn street was carried out.
The outcome was…
- The inconsistencies of zoning that put some very fine streetscapes at risk have been removed.
- The pre-1944 heritage overlay which gives some protection (albeit weak) to heritage has been applied almost universally throughout.
- And the entire core of Grey Lynn has been zoned single housing.
The situation as at the end of 2015 is still very fluid. We won’t know whether these changes will stick until the new year when new zoning maps are released. We have indicated we wish to be heard at that time.
In the meantime we attended and spoke at the hearing on heights in local shopping areas. With the Surry Crescent and West Lynn shops abutting residential areas, this is an important issue for us.
We submitted in favour of this cycleway across the harbour bridge. We believe it will be widely used by Grey Lynn residents.
Surrey Crescent Shops
We made a submission to Auckland Transport on the proposed relocation of bus stops and various other traffic-calming and pedestrian safety initiatives at this shopping centre.
It is very important to Grey Lynn that these local businesses thrive. We have concerns that AT sees it only as a major bus throughway, not a place that is important to locals and business owners.
We attended many meetings on the matter and sought to find a balance between (a) minimising barriers to use of public transport, and (b) ensuring residents have access to short-term car parking that reflects the quick pick-up-and-go nature of the many convenience and fast-food shops there.
Our old Grey Lynn Residents Association website was done on the cheap – it was clunky and unattractive. We replaced it with this bright new one at the end of 2015.