The controversial plan to build a $1.4 billion high-density housing development at Okura, outside northern Auckland’s city limits, has been sunk by drawn-out appeals.

Todd Property managing director Evan Davies said the company had decided not to proceed with an appeal in the High Court and instead flagged the “considerable interest” from people who wanted to “secure land at Okura in order to build substantial homes”.

The company had “carefully considered the issues relating to housing development at Okura, and the timeframes involved in continuing with the appeal process”.

“On balance, we have decided not to proceed with the appeal and to focus on other developments.

“We remain disappointed that this outcome will not allow for the creation of new housing and a 55ha extension to the existing Long Bay Regional Park, which would have guaranteed public access to the waterfront for generations to come.”

Todd owns a 130ha rural block at Okura, near Vaughans Rd, North Shore, and close to the Okura Estuary. It is north of Todd’s 2000-residence Long Bay project.

When the Auckland Council turned down the application by Todd subsidiary Okura Holdings for a 1000-house development, the company went to the Environment Court but failed there too, last year, partly because the estuary was considered an important habitat for birds.

A member of the Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society, Chris Bettany, who is also a member of the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board, welcomed the developer’s indication it would withdraw from the appeal.

“The society would be most delighted if that occurred.”

The society’s convenor, Pat Baskett, has previously said the Environment Court ruling acknowledged that intensive development would have a detrimental impact on the area’s high environmental and landscape values.

“Now, Okura Holdings have appealed the Environment Court’s ruling to the High Court on points of law. The society is confident that the council’s and Environment Court’s decisions will stand and the wildlife and ecology of this special place will be protected.”

Auckland councillor Wayne Walker welcomed Todd’s withdrawal in a social media post:

“Great news. Just been told that Todd Properties have withdrawn their appeal on the Long Bay land they were intending to urbanise. Well down [sic – done] Long Bay Okura Great Parks Society and others who have battled this proposal for years. The Okura and Long Bay environments will be all the better.”

source: nzherald