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our place New Lynn: ‘a hot place to live’

When Whau Local Board member Derek Battersby moved his young family to New Lynn in the early 1980s, he chose the area for a range of reasons: he could get a new family home for an affordable price, it was close to great parks, open spaces and beaches on the Manukau Harbour, it had good schools and it had a town centre and a mall with a variety of shops. "New Lynn was a good place to live and raise a family. It was a creative community with

good employment at the brickworks. It had wonderful facilities. It was vibrant and it still is." Derek Battersby, QSM, JP, (pictured left) has long championed New

Lynn and its environs and it's a community he's served as councillor on the long-gone New Lynn Borough Council and then Waitakere City Council. He's been involved with a variety of community organisations and is heritage spokesperson on the Whau Local Board. "Twelve or so years ago, I started telling people to invest in New

Lynn if they wanted to provide for their retirement. I told them they'd get a good return for their investment. I was right," he says. "There was a perception that it was a working class area. And it was, with the brickworks and light industry. Now New Lynn is a hot place to live. The demographics are changing. It's always been a vision of Ross Clow (Auckland councillor) and myself that New Lynn will become a

vibrant, metropolitan area and be a significant entertainment and dining hub for Auckland. I'm picking it will become one of the top five in the Auckland region within 10 years.” A significant part of the area's

Photo: Rick Mayne

development are the plans for 1,800 new homes on the old Monier brickworks land bordering Rankin Avenue (left). Developer Avanda Ltd has resource consent for the project on the 12 hectares of land zoned for medium-high density terraced housing and apartments and building work is expected to start in March next year. It's a special housing area which means that 10 per cent of the homes must be affordable and sold to first-home buyers.

The median house price for New Lynn in August this year was $651,000 (according to

Barfoot & Thompson). Last year at the same time it was $557,000. "Those 1,800 new homes will be the catalyst for more development," says Derek Battersby.

"They're just the beginning. With the Unitary Plan we'll see significant redevelopment of existing properties, maybe another 1,000 or 2,000 homes and that means many thousands more people." He says council is working with the developers for a big park in what will be a high-density urban area. "Any parks will have to cater for all age groups. They will need to be multi- functional and multi-cultural so it's important we get it right," Derek says. Derek is concerned that New Lynn gets the infrastructure to support its renaissance and is

critical of areas he feels are failures in recent developments. "We have a great transport hub, car park and medical centre but the area between the buildings can be a wind tunnel on a cold, wet day. People don't like it. It puts them off. "We're working on trying to deal with that," says Derek. "But if we're going to encourage

people to shop and play, we must have good walkability and good safety. Surveys done in the area tell us people feel unsafe, especially the Asian community. The New Lynn Business Association has done a good job installing CCTV cameras, but we still need to allay the fears of a lot of people. "New cinemas are opening at the mall before the end of the year and that will bring thousands of people into the area on a weekly basis. These are the kinds of things that will create confidence and encourage new investors to come to New Lynn and revitalise some of the old shopping areas," he says.

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