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Park's plan a 'sham' (say's the EPNA)
Legal Action has been threatened over Rugby World Cup plans for Eden Park, which have been labelled "a sham" less than three months before construction work on the $240 million project is due to begin.

Unhappy neighbours lodged a court claim to overturn resource consents for the original stadium design but withdrew the legal action after a temporary seating plan was revealed last year.

The Eden Park Neighbours' Association says those plans have changed and they could lodge a fresh appeal in the Environment Court if the redesign is "more than minor".

Construction is due to begin in August, but Auckland City Council has yet to grant resource consent for the whole project.

Eden Park Redevelopment Board chairman John Waller declined to comment on the prospect of a legal challenge under the Resource Management Act. But he said the stadium revamp was on schedule and was confident the final design plans would meet council rules.

"This is a huge project of national importance. We're trying to work hard with residents and the council. But there is a fine balance between the needs of competing stakeholders."

Neighbours' Association spokesman Mark Donnelly said residents had still not seen a final consented design.

"Deadlines are crunching. The whole stadium is up in the air from a design point of view. There's a high level of frustration over this because we're in limbo," said Donnelly, who is also an Auckland city councillor.

"Unfortunately, most of the changes seem to be reneging on some of the good things that were in the original design."

Changes to the original designs worrying neighbours include:

* Proposals to add an extra tier to the two-tier south stand.
* An increase in the height of the east stand which replaces the terraces.
* The removal of an internal stadium concourse.
* The removal or reduction in size of pedestrian plazas.
* The loss of open space and car parks.

Donnelly also expressed concerns over the lodging of multiple resource consents, rather than a single application, a process he called a "sham".

He believed the board was "manipulating" the process so council officers would approve each application separately, rather than seeing the overall impact to Eden Park.

"We just want the board to be upfront, confirm the design and put in the consents in one big hit," said Donnelly. "We need to bring this to a head and get some certainty."

Waller said such a large project needed three separate resource consents and the council had approved a piecemeal approach.

Resource consent had been granted to an earlier $325m design, which will no longer be used, but the redevelopment board is confident much of the new $240m plan falls within those guidelines.

The consent variations would not delay demolition and construction of the south stand, said Waller. A third consent would be lodged next year for the western transport hub.

Council planning manager John Duthie said a decision on resource consent for the south stand was "imminent". But he said resource consent applications for the east stand and the area surrounding the stadium had yet to be lodged.

He said lodging separate resource consent applications for a large project was "not normal" but neither was it "unlawful".

A meeting between the redevelopment board and neighbours is to be arranged soon.