Wellington Scoop

Too high and too wide


by Lindsay Shelton
Submissions about a city-council-approved plan for another new building on the waterfront are stating concerns that the building will be too high.

According to an Environment Court ruling in 2012, the maximum height of a building on Site 9 at Kumutoto should be 19m, sloping to 16m.

But there are concerns about the height that has been planned by developers Willis Bond, as reported by the DomPost:

Newcrest Development director Lincoln Fraser:

“The proposed Site 9 building is significantly higher than the Environment Court had determined and would overwhelm Shed 13. It also contradicts the District Plan by intruding into two protected view shafts. It exceeds the maximum heights by more than eight metres in some areas. It would obstruct the views of the waterfront from properties we own and neighbouring buildings, robbing them of valuable views … leading to a drop in building values.”

Sir Bob Jones:

“The height restriction is there for a reason and has got to be adhered to.”

Civic Trust chairman Jim McMahon:

“The Environment Court was explicit in stating the maximum height of any building, including rooftop plant and structures, should be 19 metres above mean sea level for the northern half of the site and 16 metres above mean sea level to the south. The trust is also concerned the proposed building would be overbearing in its relationship to Shed 13 and would create an imposing visual barrier … in breach of the District Plan.”

Watefront Watch president Victor Davie:

“Until the construction of Willis Bond’s large office building on adjacent Site 10 is completed, and its impact on the Waterfront is assessed, it would be irresponsible to proceed any further with this current proposal.”

It’s not the first time that Willis Bond have been pushing the limits on height for new buildings. When the plans for the Site 10 building (now under construction) were announced, they showed a height that was more than 3 metres above the recommendation of the Environment Court, which was seemingly supported by the city council.

And when the council announced the Site 9 proposal last month, it claimed:

The proposed building is generally in scale with neighbouring premises.

A claim which has now been contradicted.

Read also:
Willis Bond and the Wellington City Council


  1. Elaine Hampton, 3. August 2017, 13:26

    Again, developers and council appear to be in league with each other. Wellingtonians do not want these buildings on their waterfront, built on public land, obscuring access and views, competing with other ratepayer businesses in the city, and at give away prices. Who was it said, “if the vote actually changed anything they would abolish it”. I didn’t vote for this.

  2. Michael, 3. August 2017, 19:05

    In a recent Housing Forum run by WCC, the regulatory workshop was chaired by a developer, and developers had plenty of “wants” which will not necessarily be the best for Wellington but will help their profits considerably. Relaxed rules regarding the waterfront being one and the idea of more green spaces sadly lacking. See extract from summary report below:

    Development rights in central area:
    – Raise the maximum permitted heights to enable more apartments to be developed. (NB: There are differing views on the need for this, and maybe additional height is required on a site-by-site or a particular location basis, eg near the waterfront.)

    Incentivise affordable, high-quality development:
    – Allow increased height and density where developments are high quality and will result in affordable housing.
    – Incentivise quality by allowing taller and higher-density housing.

    Council practices and advice:
    ‒ Council advice often doesn’t see the bigger picture and the importance of approving housing development.
    ‒ Need to change the culture of conservatism and reliance on rules.
    ‒ Remove the liability to the Council by, for example, having pre-approved designs for certain types of developments.

  3. Michael Gibson, 3. August 2017, 20:24

    My submission: “I propose a Chinese Garden.”

  4. Rumpole, 3. August 2017, 20:56

    Hilda and I were looking forward to a place on the waterfront for artists and creative people to work and sell their products. Pity the council is giving away this land for office development. Off to court I say!