Character Coalition: because Character Counts
The Character Coalition is an umbrella group representing heritage, historical and special interest groups and residents associations who care deeply about their city.
We have joined together out of a sense of frustration that the community is not being listened to. We have watched with despair as precious buildings and areas have been destroyed to make way for, often inappropriate, new developments. We have felt shut out of the decision-making process that determines development in our local environments, a process that seems designed to disempower ordinary citizens.
Read, print and or download Draft Unitary Plan Feedback by Character Coalition members
Character Coalition Auckland Unitary Plan Submission
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Next phase: Pre-hearing meetings
The Character Coalition has received our first invitation from the Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) to a pre-hearing meeting. It covers a range of topics that the IHP have deemed to be out of their scope. If we disagree we need to attend the meeting and make our case.
The next stages of the process are: Pre-hearing meetings; Expert conferences; Mediation; and Hearing sessions.
Unitary Plan Update
During January we participated in Topic 10 Historic Heritage and Special Character. You can read our evidence here and in February in Topic 13 Urban Growth where we challenged the Council's evidence that the city will grow by a million people. We presented evidence from a leading demographer, Professor Richard Bedford that refutes that number. He has subsequently been invited to a mediation session to discuss this further with the panel.
Our Counsel Kitt Littlejohn presented our legal submission. Here is one of the important points we made:
"As noted, the Coalition does not oppose the strategic policy of limiting the peripheral expansion of the city and the desirability of creating a more compact urban form over time. But it considers that the critical factor driving the proposed extent of residential up-zoning, namely the spectre of significant population growth over the next 30 years, has not been soundly analysed. Instead, population growth of another 1 million people has simply been adopted from the Auckland Plan and assumed for all purposes as a fact."
We are now preparing for Topics 29/30/31. These are arguably the most important of the process for the Coalition where we will argue the case for special character and defend the pre-1944 overlay. We are extremely fortunate to have Malcolm Middleton, the Queensland Government Architect coming to give evidence for us and have several other great experts lined up to speak about the value of heritage and special character.
While it will be a year or more before we know if our efforts have paid off for character and heritage, the Character Coalition has been fully engaged with the Unitary Plan process from the beginning and we will know we have done our best for a better Auckland.
Auckland Post Draft Unitary Plan
The Character Coalition has commissioned indicative images to illustrate the general appearance of streetscapes proposed under the Draft Unitary Plan.
These have been produced by an architecture student, and while they may lack exact technical correctness at the most minute level of the plan, they are indicative of the proposed heights and mass of buildings that could be built.
Auckland Council has not been able to substantially refute the general look of these images as this is what these new zonings actually mean at the street level.
Heritage and character areas all over the city will surely be decimated if this plan goes ahead unchanged.
Click here for more on these indicative streetscape illustrations.
The Character Coalition has joined forces with Auckland 2040
The Character Coalition has joined forces with Auckland 2040 in calling on the Council to rethink the Unitary Plan.
We do not oppose change or growth. We know there will need to be intensification but this plan has been done the wrong way around. A bottom up process would have engaged people at the beginning of the discussions and led to widespread buy in.
If people feel they have had a say and been listened to they are more willing to accept change. The Council must listen to this ground swell and use it as an opportunity to get a better result not dig in and refuse to make the changes being called for.
Key points of interest
Wayne Brittenden's Counterpoint: Auckland Heritage
Wayne Brittenden takes a critical look at the reality of heritage, Auckland style. Chris subsequently speaks with Waitemata and Gulf councillor Mike Lee, and Brisbane conservation architect Peter Marquis-Kyle.
Listen to here: Radio New Zealand National, from Sunday Morning on 14 October 2012
A simple guide to Brisbane's heritage places and character homes.
In Brisbane only places listed in the City Plan Heritage Register or the State Government's Queensland Heritage Register (or both) have legal protection. These registers are assembled and managed separately, but have similar criteria.
Click here to view " A simple guide to Brisbane's heritage places and character homes. (as a PDF 1.93MB)
Presentation to Auckland Plan Committee July 3rd 2012
The Character Coalition had an opportunity to speak to the Auckland Plan Committee, where we outlined four main mechanisms we believe should be in the Unitary Plan.
The Coalition looks forward to being part of the process to develop the plan and help create a liveable city that respects it's history, values its heritage and allows its citizens to be truly involved in the development of their built environment. Continue ...