top of page

 The Fast-Tracking application to construct 70 apartments on the old Steward Motors site, currently still zoned for only 9 houses, has resumed.


Application to build 70 apartments and terraced houses on the old Steward Motors site opposite Howick College.

Click the button below to read the latest update from the CBRRA on the progress of this application 

You can read about the history of the Sandspit Road apartments below.


We may have won a battle, but not the war!  


Box Properties legal advisor has advised the Environment Court that the current application to construct the 54 apartments on the old Steward Motors and adjoining sites is unviable in the present circumstances.  The developer will therefore request leave to withdraw the proceedings.  Our concern remains that in order to create something that is “viable” he will use the new intensification legislation and Plan Change 78 to justify a higher density development.  Whether this complies with the Plan Change 78 rules – and therefore requires no resource consent – remains to be seen.  The location is subject to Qualifying Matters safeguards, but Council planners may deem any future development is not effected by these provisions.  We will keep members informed.

Additional Background: The Council referred the consent application directly to the Environment Court.  This imposes some rather more vigorous procedures on both the applicant; the Council and submitters. Submitters to the application were given an opportunity to become Section 274 registered parties to the Court Action.  Registered parties  include CBRRA, Reydon Place Residents Society Incorporated (RPRSI) ; Howick Ratepayers and Residents Association (HRRA) and about 55 individuals. The Court process places a lot of emphasis on the qualifications and expertise of witnesses.  This is much more so than in the case of the earlier application for 71 apartments held before Independent Hearing Commissioners.  The Court also takes a dim view of people wasting their time.  As a result of this some 36 individuals (including couples) have agreed to support the CBRRA submission. Council now have a lawyer representing them, as does the applicant (Box Properties Investments Ltd).  RPRSI have engaged a lawyer and a Town Planner.  Probably based on the fact that this is a precedent setting case they have received a legal grant towards the cost of their lawyer, and are fund raising towards the cost of a very experienced town planner that they have engaged.  They have started fund raising towards these costs.  Our Association will be providing some financial support.  We encourage individual donations to their fund.  Their bank account details are included on our Membership form.  They are likely to need at least $10,000. In addition to the initial submission to Council on the application, we have so far been required to provide a submission to the Court; a statement of issues to be considered and a detailed submission / evidence.  All quite time consuming! There has been one relatively short hearing before Judge Kirkpatrick, the Chief Environment Court Judge.  At this he basically set a timetable for the early stages of the Court case.  This was followed up by a deadline by which all submitters had to respond to the applicant’s and the Council evidence.  That deadline date was 30 June 2021.  We do not yet have a timetable for the remainder of the Court Hearings. The appeal to the Environment Court case against the rejection of the original application to build 71 apartments has been withdrawn. The overall approach we have used has been to put a lot of emphasis on the Single House Zone description, objectives and policies as set out in the Auckland Unitary Plan, and the different criteria for interpreting these definitions, including the Evidence Act; and clauses in the AUP.  Our second key thrust has been around the environment, and how well, or badly, these requirements have been addressed by the applicant Our final submission ran to some 35 pages of very evidence-based information.  It will have been circulated to all parties to the Court action, but is not available to others as the Court regards submissions and evidence as confidential. An underlying concern is that the Howick Local Board – in this case through no fault of their own – were not consulted on the application. On a different front completely Fiona and I made a presentation to the full Council Planning Committee expressing our concerns about Integrated Residential Developments.  In preceding months we had talked to Sharon Stewart and some other Councillors on the subject, and corresponded with one of the Orakei Local Board elected representatives and local citizens.  It is good to report that the Planning Committee is considering a Plan Change on the subject.  I do not yet have a timetable.

Due to the potentially precedent setting nature of the proposed development, we believe it is important for the public “to have their say”. ​With the original 71 apartment proposal only 26 nearby residents were entitled to make submissions.  Council planning staff justified this decision by saying the proposed development is not unusual or out of the ordinary.  However, they are unable to provide examples of other similar developments in Auckland.  We and many other local residents wished to present evidence opposing the proposed development.  The decision to use only limited notification prevented us from doing so.  Even the 2 adjacent schools were excluded from making submissions – even though there will be a huge increase in traffic and the site requires excavation of asbestos, which must be done under close supervision because of the danger of wind borne particles blowing across into the school areas.


The Independent Hearing Commissioners who considered the first application of 71 apartments, which was submitted as an IRD, declined the application in August 2019 on the basis that it was non-compliant.  Box Properties Limited (the developer) began the process of appealing to the Environment Court including mediation.

The developer has now lodged another resource consent application for the same site with the council for a development of 54 apartments, which they also claim is an IRD. 


We again believe that this is a non-compliant multi-dwelling development (as the Independent Hearing Commissioners found). 

Click the link below to read the decision of the Independent Hearing Commissioners!


The land is currently zoned to take 9 single houses only. The developer has failed in an attempt to have it rezoned.  He is now applying to build 54 apartments under the Integrated Residential Development (IRD) classification.  Using this designation IRDs can be developed on sites greater than 2000m² in a Single House Zone.  However, we believe that IRDs are intended to enable rest homes and retirement villages to be developed.  The proposed development is neither a rest home nor a retirement home.  It is a block of apartments with a communal swimming pool, a BBQ area, and possibly a café.  It seems that the developer, by including these features, hopes to receive planning approval. ​We do not believe the proposed development complies with the definition of an IRD.  We have asked Council to give examples of other similar developments in Single House Zones.  They cannot do so.  We believe that this could be a precedent setting case that would enable any developer with a 2000 m² site to circumvent the Council zoning rules anywhere in Auckland. ​Local residents have asked us for support to enable them to successfully challenge whether the proposed development complies with the definition of an IRD, as well as other shortcomings in the application for development consent.

If you would like to read the public submission made by the CBRRA on the proposed 54 apartment development (October 2020) then click the link below.


We are concerned that the proposed development will place further pressure on already heavily subscribed on-road parking.  

Further, the site for the proposed development is right next door to Cockle Bay Primary and Howick College.  We are afraid for the safety of these communities due to the increase in traffic if the proposed development goes ahead.  

Lastly, downstream of the proposed development is a creek, with rare birds, native fish, and invertebrates.  We are concerned about the impact the proposed development will have on this beautiful environment.   


Councillor Sharon Stewart has been supportive of our attempts to get additional background.  However, our approaches to the Council Planning Committee have not been fruitful.  Our enquiries have simply been passed on to the Council planners – the very same group that has put the development forward for approval with only a limited number of objectors permitted to make submissions. 


We believe that the elected representatives as a whole have failed to hold planners accountable for ensuring that Council’s own policies are followed.


You can read the Auckland Council submission to the Environment Select Committee on the Enabling Housing Supply Bill  given on 16th November 2021, which includes the HLB's feedback,  by clicking the link below:

We are concerned that the wastewater and stormwater systems in Cockle Bay cannot cope with the proposed development.  

There are already problems with effluent overflow, blockages, and stormwater flooding and damage, especially on Reydon Place.  

We want to ensure that the wastewater and stormwater systems will be able to handle the additional pressure from the proposed development.  




A petition against the proposed development has been started by concerned Cockle Bay residents. 


Add your name below!


The residents of Reydon Place, one of the worst affected roads if the proposed development goes ahead, have started a Friends of Cockle Bay Facebook page.  

Please like and follow this page, it means a lot to the residents of Reydon Place to know they're not alone.  


If you would like to make your concerns known, you can email:


Sharon Stewart

Sharon is a Councillor.  


Maurice Williamson

Maurice is a Councillor.

Howick Local Board

bottom of page