Auckland hill view lobby group tells other communities 'don't give up, keep fighting' in campaign over house heights

Locals in an east Auckland suburb say communities nationwide can learn from a council concession on proposed height limits for houses that would block views from a landmark hill.

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The hill in Howick is one of the city’s most accessible natural high points, with views galore. Source: Seven Sharp

Stockdale Hill in Howick affords 360 degree views that include Auckland city, Rangitoto Island, Waiheke Island and Coromandel Peninsula.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp reported changes under the much-debated Auckland Unitary Plan would allow 12-metre high, three-storey residences to be built on the properties immediately surrounding Stockade Hill.

Properties on one side of the hill could rise to roughly the height of the bend in street light standards in the area.

A community group Save Stockade Hill Views has been fighting the plans.

After four years and tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses for the locals, Auckland Council has agreed to reduce the height limits on the seaward side of the hill to eight metres, and has recommended an independent planning review be undertaken. Despite the council concession the lobby group says that is only a partial win and there's more work to be done. 

Save Stockade Hill Views says the issue has relevance for every other town and city in the country.

"It's a story about how does New Zealand grow and develop and change and still manage to maintain some care for the things that really matter. And that's what keeps places unique," said Tracey Fox of the lobby group.

Janet Dickson of Save Stockade Hill Views says other communities that might be dealing with their own local issues can learn from the Howick case.

"Get together. Find the movers and shakers amongst you. Then spread it to the wider community, get their involvement. Don't give up." 

The lobby group have their own catchy campaign song that empowers them and helps make their point.

It goes, "I'm standing on Stockade Hill admiring the views, wondering what it will be like if they did what they plan to do."

So Janet Dickson has one more tip for other communities battling local issues - sing a song.