Conclusion from Milford Unitary Plan Community Meeting Last Night

VOTE NO = Rail Roaded


Viable Alternative = Saving Your Town


Milford was the second community meeting I have been to thus far in regards to the Unitary Plan a.k.a The Clunker feedback. I plan to get around to more in Auckland as I gauge community opinion, see what the planners have to say in what is planned for the respective area from Auckland, offer some commentary or advice, and then write blog commentary on what I have concluded. I also note that Deputy Mayor and Clunker Lead – Penny Hulse was present at Milford last night although she her silence more deafening that a 747 on take off. I was expecting the Deputy Mayor to at least stand up and give a 30-second speech on some kind of reassurance that the Council is listening to feedback, and at the minimum “Council might have gotten this wrong.”

[Update in regards to our Deputy Mayor]:

I have been informed from our Deputy Mayor on the following in her eyes, comments of mine I have been reflected accordingly in light of this.

From Facebook


  • Ben Ross Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse was very silent last night. Was expecting some kind of mini-speech and reassurance as the UP-Lead that ‘We are listening” But her silence was more deafening than a 747 on take off
    • Penny Hulse Ben I had been told by the organisers of the meeting that I was not welcome to talk. I would have been very happy to answer questions as I have at all other meetings.
    • Ben Ross Then on that note I Penny I retract my comment and will update a recent blog post accordingly with apologies attached. I did note you at the Manukau Civic Forum today which was  – unfortunately I had to duck out early as I had a previous engagement with family back home in Papakura. But I still got my feedback across the residential and business zones to which I will submit on in my feedback and submissions to the Unitary Plan.

      Our paths do keep crossing but never able to actually have a one-to-one discussion on thoughts on the UP thus far – irony about I am afraid


I do note with Milford a lot of hostility but my main reaction to it is below.



Now with Milford


Last night I watched as a Planner went through the motions of explaining The Clunker in it effects on Milford. After that it was answer and feedback session which is how I came to the upcoming up conclusion. In short Milford is zoned Town Centre (see THE CLUNKER AND BUSINESS ZONES) while the surrounding residential areas are up for Terrace Housing and Apartments and Mixed Housing (see THE CLUNKER AND RESIDENTIAL ZONING) and that has upset a majority of residents – but not all. The existing Milford Town Centre is up for a maximum of 8-storeys (economic conditions permitting), the flanks at a maximum of 6 storeys (again economic conditions permitting) and then the rest of Milford us up for 2-4 storeys depending on where. I also would like to point out that according to the planners, there is meant to be a strict urban design program to be followed. What it is I am not sure yet.

My conclusions were the following

The majority of residents disapprove on the level of intensification that has been lined up for them in Milford, with their primary concerns around both physical and social infrastructure and loadings upon them with this growth. There was a minority in the crowd that supported the allowance of choice that was being available through The Clunker for Milford (if the developments in Milford happened to their full potential per The Clunker). There was also a lot of NIMBYism with the crowd unable to answer where the people going to go as the city grows through to 2041. Basically I got from my interpretation; so long as it is not in Milford it doesn’t bother Milford. Genuine concerns around infrastructure, shadowing, bad urban design, or maybe the buildings are just too tall I can understand. NIMBY-ism however, I have no time for nor to be honest so does the city and the wider nation.

Milford took a vote last night on whether they were not happy in which way the Unitary Plan was going in regards for Milford. The majority said they were not happy – but no one (although there might have been one or two) gave an actual alternative publicly. So to all those voted in not happy but put forward no alternative (and a viable one at that), I will deem you for now as a NIMBY-ism person and a hinderer to the city. Further more unless there is an alternative put forward by Milford that does acknowledge they are up for intensification (I did not say yet to what scale) and change (I did not say yet to what degree) by May 31, then the planners and even myself are going to look at that vote last night and totally disregard it and carry on per the final Unitary Plan as no alternative was put forward. Meaning Milford you might be up for 8-storeys in 2030.


Now I did note this from Facebook:

From Local Board Member – Jan O’Conner – who I have time for

Milord Residents Assoc certainly doesn’t lack expertise, Ben. They had battled for 20 years to preserve their “darling” centre (my words ) – and they win every battle

That might be so Jan, but as I said in comment:

I know they dont lack expertise – but my point stands especially against the might of the combined structure in the Super City. New dynamic and new challenges are present

I’ll demonstrate how – and how this reflects right across the city


Milford does not put a viable alternative to Brownfield development up to Council and the Planners, but rather just oppose the plan full stop. 

For starters if the planners have no viable alternative, then depending on what comes in from else where from the city say Papakura gets scaled back from a Metropolitan Centre to a Town Centre; then the extra houses have to go somewhere and 8-storeys in Milford just became a heck of a lot more attractive if the current proposal sticks for Milford.

Second and this is if I want to preserve my home of Papakura and not want it to be a Metropolitan Centre and have 18 storey buildings possible 100 metres away from my home. I look at the Unitary Plan maps and see Milford is right next to the Takapuna Metropolitan Centre and reasonably close to State Highway One, the Busway, and the eventual North Shore heavy rail Line. As I seek to get Papakura downgraded from a Metro centre to a Town Centre, my alternative to offset the loss is for Milford to be merged with Takapuna into a twin Metropolitan Centre – especially with the North Shore rail line and feeder buses so close by. The Milford Metro Centre along with Takapuna Metro Centre work in a twin metro centre complementary manner (rather a competitive manner) to which infrastructure resources are shared and costs spread out more efficiently. To the planners, Council, Auckland Transport, and the rest of the city this is a win. A win for Papakura as I no longer have 18 storey towers. A win for everyone else except Milford as economies of scale apply in developing it along with the twin – Takapuna as a dual Metro Centre. Milford loses as no alternative came forward from them, but someone else from elsewhere in the city did put one forward for Milford, the Council liked it and ran with it as Milford did not put an alternative forward for their town. Of course that alternative for Milford from some plucky upstart in Papakura did consider the environment and had enough mitigation techniques in place to satisfy the requirements of the Unitary Plan and in extension the Resource Management Act.

This is what ANYONE could face unless they either:

  1. Support the Unitary Plan as is
  2. Not support the Unitary Plan as is (as I don’t) but get an alternative put in for the planners to work off

Milford is in this boat


So my advice and as I told Councillor Wood last night: Get your alternative out there to the public, debate it, strength it, submit it. Otherwise Milford you might be staring down the barrel of your very first lost courtesy of Southern Auckland. And believe me – that would suck and be a sore point for decades to come.

Now I can hear Milford frothing at the mouth with my above statement. Well Milford I do have an alternative for you and I will submit this in to Council as an alternative so YOU DO NOT GET 8-storeys as even I believe that is not fair.



My Alternative for Milford

Milford is downgraded from a Town Centre to a Local Centre which knocks the maximum height rules from 8 to 6 storeys in the existing Town Centre. However to strengthen the character here and now and for the future for Milford I recommend keeping Kitchener Road to three stories and behind that up to 5 stories as a maximum (this would affect the mall and buildings not on the Kitchener Street front – so a set back if you like). The 5 storeys is mixed residential and commercial and has a strong urban design measure to maintain character. For the areas currently zoned in the draft Clunker at 4 storeys (this would be terrace housing) I would drop that back to three storeys which gives terrace housing and walk-up apartments commonly seen overseas (this if the market wants it). For the rest of Milford I would keep the residential area as it is current up until 2025, where it is reviewed and depending on pressures at the time is whether Milford is up for a rezone to Mixed Housing.

Of course I will be looking at all forms of infrastructure for Milford to take these changes and commenting on it in my submission prospectively (most likely me calling for the North Shore Line ASAP).

And where possible, supporting evidence behind the alternative will be provided as well.

But the point I am raising here is that after looking widely across the city and reflecting on my on values to where I want the city to be in 2041, I could not support The Clunker in its current form but at least I am going hammer-and-tong to get an alternative put forward for the planners to work off when rewriting The Clunker rather than play the NIMBYism card and just sit their arms folded looking sour. Because as I said above, you will get rail roaded if you decide to go down that “arms folded looking sour NIMBYism” approach is by chance someone else from elsewhere gets an alternative forward that planners might just like.




Vote No = Rail Roading

Vote Alternative = Saving your Town


Your Choice Milford (and wider Auckland)




Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

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