The Future of 4 Victoria Avenue as a Community Asset

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The future of no. 4 Victoria Avenue, currently housing the CAB and the Plunket nurse, has been of concern to the Association for the past two years. Most recently your chairman expressed his frustration and disappointment to the Ōrākei Local Board members, as reported in the September edition of The Hobson (page 13).

At its August meeting the Ōrākei Board voted in favour of resolutions encouraging Panuku to consider the feasibility of the No.4 site separately from the Meadowbank Community Centre. The Board also sought advice from Council Community Facilities about what control, if any, the Board had if the current lessees depart. One of the assumptions is that the property would then have to be sold. If that occurs would the Community retain control of the proceeds of that sale? One option favoured if this were to occur, although not apparently considered by Panuku or in the recent community facilities survey, was a Remuera village green space in the business area.

The so-called “Village Green” at the rear of Ray White Remuera (411 Remuera Road) has been created on portions of privately owned land. The only other open space is that skirting the library. The notion of ‘green space’ can mean a plain grassed area, like a pocket park, OR it could be a civic space, a bit like a Heard Park in Parnell. This concept is something we want to keep on the table.

The developer adjacent to 4 Victoria (at the rear) can not expect to have rights in 4 Victoria Ave, and certainly he would have been foolish to have bought the land expecting to do so. We need to identify those options that are directly linked to the interests of the current adjacent owner, and those that are not. There is nothing to stop the developer from applying for consent to develop his land as best he can, with the access limitations it currently has.

Panuku has stated there are many “optimisation” possibilities. Selling air space while retaining Council services on the ground floor, some sort of development agreement with the adjacent owner to help retain services at the property, relocating services to another location and using sale proceeds to cover that relocation. A development agreement with the adjacent owner could mean that the land is sold to him and Council is somehow integrated back into a unit title development. This would leave an unsatisfactory situation in that council might own one, or maybe a few units, within a unit title development but be only a minority in the body corporate, and unable to exercise freedom to act.

More reports will be forthcoming from Panuku over the next few months. Residents are invited to keep a close eye on the monthly business meetings of the Orakei Local Board for next time this subject is addressed. Council agendas and minutes can be viewed at: http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

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