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Council goes to High Court over planning appeals

Published: 5 July 2018

Almost all 108 appeals against the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) have now been resolved.

After extensive hearings by an independent panel of experts appointed by the government, Auckland Council released its decision on the AUP in August 2016, which was the subject of appeals to the Environment Court and the High Court. Eight judicial reviews were also filed.

In the past two months the Environment Court has issued decisions on three outstanding issues:

  1. The location of the Rural Urban Boundary and zoning in the Crater Hill/Pūkaki area
  2. The location of the Rural Urban Boundary and zoning in Ōkura
  3. Planning controls for subdividing land in rural Auckland.

The Crater Hill/Pūkaki decision was in favour of the council and has been appealed to the High Court by two landowners who want their land to be included inside the Rural Urban Boundary.

The decision on Ōkura was also in favour of the council and has been appealed to the High Court by one landowner on similar grounds.

“We will actively support the Environment Court’s decisions in the High Court through the presentation of legal submissions,” said council planning committee chair Councillor Chris Darby.

The Environment Court decision on subdividing land in rural areas was against the council and the council has appealed the Environment Court’s decision to the High Court.

“The recent decisions made by the Environment Court deal with significant environmental, cultural and economic issues for Auckland,” said Councillor Darby.

“For a wide range of reasons, the Crater Hill/Pūkaki and Ōkura areas are not suitable for urban development”.

“In relation to the recent decision that deals with subdividing land in rural Auckland, our legal advice is that the Environment Court has made a number of errors in law. For that reason, and given the importance of protecting the rural economy's finite resources such as high-quality soils and sensitive rural landscapes, the council has decided to appeal this decision to the High Court.”