Today’s High Court decision not to grant the injunction sought by Save the Queen Street Society means Auckland Council and Auckland Transport are able to proceed with planned improvements to the northern end of Queen Street between Customs and Shortland Streets.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the court’s decision.
“I’m pleased that this interim decision enables the planned improvements to go ahead according to schedule,” he says.
“The upgrade will demonstrate to Aucklanders how Queen Street can be made more people-friendly and accessible, as outlined in our City Centre Masterplan.
“We will continue to work with all stakeholders to progress improvements to Queen Street that will help make it a great place for the thousands of Aucklanders who live, work, study and shop there.”
While today’s court decision allows the improvements to proceed, there are 10 further challenges from SQSS that are yet to be heard at a substantive hearing. A date for this has not been confirmed.
In the meantime, there is willingness on both sides to continue talking in the interests of finding common ground.
Work on the improvements will start on Monday 10 May. The work will see pavements widened with high-quality decking, new street furniture and vibrant green spaces with native planting and a new pocket park.
They will also see the removal of temporary emergency works including the yellow sticks, plastic planter boxes and painted asphalt.
The target for completion of the improvements and removal of the emergency works at the northern end of Queen Street is late June 2021.
The temporary emergency works were installed to support the COVID-19 response. They served to guide physical distancing during four lockdowns in Auckland.
The people-prioritised plan for Queen Street was outlined in Auckland Council’s refreshed City Centre Masterplan a year ago and was unanimously supported by elected members. In wide public consultation, the City Centre Masterplan also secured 76 per cent public support.
The council plan is to make the improvements to the northern end of Queen Street and then seek feedback from the community. That process identifies what is and isn’t working and leads to a permanent plan, informed by the lessons learned.
For the remainder of Queen Street, Auckland Council plans to take a block by block, staged approach in order to understand the diverse needs of each part of Queen Street, maintain the functionality of the street throughout, accommodate City Rail Link (CRL) construction, and manage cost and resource responsibly.