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Neighbours baulk at 'piecemeal' consent
A resource consent approving a new south stand at Eden Park reflects a "frustratingly piecemeal" approach to the $240 million redevelopment, says a neighbourhood group.

Mark Donnelly, a spokesman for the Eden Park Neighbours Association, said he was surprised the consent, issued yesterday from an independent planning commissioner, was non-notified, given the complexities that arose in relationship to the existing consent.

Mr Donnelly said the association was unhappy about the process involving multiple consent variations to change the former consent for the original $320 million proposal which was subsequently sidelined after a central Government redesign.

"It is piecemeal and quite frustrating," he said.

the fresh resource consent raised questions about what was in the pipeline for the rest of the development, and it was difficult to judge the south stand in isolation.

"We do not know how the changes are going to relate to ongoing consents ... we are trying to find out what is happening with other applications."

"There are completely different ramifications we need to understand."

It was a struggle to see how they would relate to earlier plans which had included elements like an external pedestrian concourse which "seems to have gone".

The south stand was also originally expected to have a pedestrian walkway from Sandringham Rd.

Eden Park chief executive Adam Feeley said the Auckland City Council had decided to vary the consents in a three-stage process, of which this was the first.

"We didn't design the strategy."

He said it was not a complicated variation, as the new plans for the stand were for a lower and smaller construction than first proposed.

While there were architectural differences, such as the facade, they had no impact, he said.

Mr Feeley said external pedestrian walkways were never the responsibility of Eden Park, but there would be concourses connecting the stands to transport facilities.

Eden Park Redevelopment Board chairman John Waller yesterday described the consent as a milestone for the project.

Mr Waller said the new south stand, with its 21,500 capacity, was the cornerstone of the park's upgrade for the Rugby World Cup.

"It is the most time-critical element of the construction project, and so securing approval for the new design has ensured that the project remains on schedule."

The consent followed approval from the Government in December to upgrade the design of the park from a single redeveloped stand to include additional stand developments around the Panasonic and eastern terraces.

From a neighbour's perspective, the newly approved design was 4m lower than a previously approved structure - a significant improvement to the original design, he said.

Fletcher Construction had been on site for the past few weeks and the approval meant it could start its pre-construction work and prepare for demolition in August.

Mr Waller said there would be two further stages to finalising the consent process - confirmation of the east stand design, and approval of the new transport facilities and the additional facilities for Rugby World Cup.

He said a public expo at Eden Park this weekend would unveil the latest designs.

"It will be the public's first opportunity to see the drawings and designs in detail and members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions."


The details
* Three-tier stand with a capacity of just under 22,000.
* New players' and referees' dressing rooms and catering facilities on ground floor.
* 50 media seats at halfway mark.
* 52 corporate boxes and 4600 seats for members and corporate suites.
* External backlit transparent silver ferns.

The timetable
* Old stand demolished after Bledisloe Cup in August.
* Old seats, steel, concrete and other materials recycled.
* Construction of new stand starts before Christmas.
* Scheduled to be finished in December 2010.