• 03 Te Rimu sculpture
  • 02 Great North Road Grey Lynn Mural
  • 01 Our Hood

Chair’s report for Annual Meeting: 2 December 2019

AGM 2 December 2019. Held at the Grey Lynn RSC, Francis Street, Grey Lynn.

Chair’s report

It has been another very busy year for the committee of the Grey Lynn Residents’ Association, which has had several key issues to address during the year.

Planning issues

  • Several issues relating to developments simmered on during the year. In the case of 560 Richmond Road and the removal of a villa to create car parking we supported the immediate neighbour’s objection with planning advice and presence at the hearing in 2018-2019. She was ultimately successful at the hearing and then at the subsequent appeal this year. We are very grateful to GLRA committee member Graeme Burgess for his expertise and commitment in assisting the owner.
  • During 2018 we had assisted residents concerned about Housing NZ’s plans for a new social housing development that would rise to six stories at the back of the site of the current pensioner flats on Surrey Crescent. We were not able to make a submission ourselves as we were not deemed to be an interested party. The commissioner ultimately decided in early 2019 that the building could go ahead.
  • The committee made a submission on Plan Change 26. This is a very significant document. Among other things our submission stated that:

We generally support the idea of a plan change that removes ambiguity and provides clear direction on the planning rules that apply in areas covered by the Special Character overlay. In general we believe that the rules that govern development in areas covered by the Special Character overlay should be more restrictive than the underlying zone rules in order to preserve the integrity of the special character streetscapes that the overlay seeks to preserve. 

We would like to see a tightening of the rules around demolition within the Special Character overlay. Currently up to 30% demolition is a restricted discretionary activity. This allows planners who may lack experience in the heritage field to make inappropriate decisions allowing the demolition of a considerable amount of original built fabric. The process for making decisions in such cases needs to be more robust and should include input from a heritage expert. This would give the public a sense of reassurance that such decisions are not being made by people without the necessary skills and understanding of the intent of the Special Character provisions.

 We are concerned that the Special Character overlay does not accurately reflect the full extent of character streetscapes in Grey Lynn. When the Unitary Plan replaced the former District Plans no further identification of established character streets in Grey Lynn was undertaken and the Special Character overlay was not extended beyond the extent of the Residential 1 zone identified in Grey Lynn in the early 1990s. There are a number of streets in Grey Lynn which have the exactly the same characteristics as streets that are covered by the Special Character overlay and yet are not protected by the overlay. It is not clear why this is the case. Selbourne Street is one example: only one block between Baildon and Firth Road was included in the Special Character overlay, despite the whole street being part of the Surrey Hills Estate subdivision, with similar housing types, streetscape and urban pattern as the block covered by the Special Character overlay.

The Grey Lynn Residents Association asks that Council undertake a historic character assessment and field survey of the residential areas of Grey Lynn not currently included in the Special Character overlay, to allow the full extent of heritage streetscapes in Grey Lynn to be identified and protected with the Special Character overlay.

Thanks to Tania Mace for her expert work here.

Great North Road concept 

Work has continued on this ambitious project, and should be completed soon.

Many thanks to David Batten and Brandon Wilcox for their work on this. 

Grey Lynn Park

  • The state of Rose Road Gully has continued to be an issue. 
  • During the year, as we also reported this time in 2018, there has been no action to improve the playground at the Cockburn Street end of the park, or to remediate the volleyball courts adjacent or to repair the broken flying fox at the Williamson Avenue end of the park. 
  • Council maintenance of the park is at a minimal level and there are many areas of concern, including a lack of replacement tree planting.
  • We attended a meeting of interested parties with the new committee running the Grey Lynn Park Festival. 

Home Street playground

David Batten has continued to work with Council on the redevelopment of this facility.


During 2018 the committee became involved with aftermath of a poisoning of two mature plane trees in Selbourne Street and maintained contact with the Council arborist about the matter. The trees have recently been pollarded and are showing signs of recovery. 

Cycleways – Waitemata Safer Routes

The ongoing turmoil surrounding the installation of a cycleway, new pedestrian crossings and bus stop locations, planter beds and footpaths at the West Lynn shops (plus the associated cycleway route along Surrey Crescent and down Garnet Road in one direction and further on along Richmond Road on the other) was a major focus of activity in 2018, and in early 2019 we submitted on the revised plan which AT put out for community consultation.


The committee submitted in support of Auckland Council’s reduced speed limit bylaw.

Local body election boundaries 

In 2019 the Electoral Commission made its decision on the Waitemata and Gulf Ward boundary changes. They agreed with our submission (lodged in 2018) and Grey Lynn was not carved up as had been suggested.

Local government elections

An entertaining meet the candidates evening was held at the RSC in September.

Western Isthmus Stormwater and Wastewater Upgrades Community Liaison Group

Alan McCullough attended these regular meetings on behalf of the GLRA. 

Website and Facebook

The website has been well used and maintained by Brandon Wilcox with a number of blog posts on key issues during the year. David Batten has maintained our Facebook page. Thanks to them both.


The Association does not charge a membership fee and its only income is from the sponsorship of the website, which covers its hosting and support costs. We have managed to end the year in a fiscally neutral state. Many thanks to the Treasurer and secretary Jamie Hosking for managing our finances during the year.


Thanks are due to the GLRA committee members, who have worked so hard this year for the neighbourhood despite their own busy working and family lives. We sincerely thank Graeme Burgess and Alan McCullough, who are stepping down at this meeting.

Nicola Legat and Dan Salmon – Co-chairs