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Client:        Canal Family
Sector:       Private
Services:    Planning & Policy, Resource Consents

4Sight was engaged by the Canal family to provide planning advice and obtain resource consent for the construction of a new dwelling within a special character area in Freemans Bay.

The purpose of the special character area is to preserve the historic character of the early established neighbourhoods by discouraging development that doesn't fit well with the zone's character. Instead, it encourages renovations and new works to reflect the historic form and pattern of buildings and streetscape.

Upon seeing the client's architectural concept for their to-be new dwelling, it was immediately apparent to us that it would face heavy opposition from Auckland Council. The design consisted of several modular boxes constructed with concrete and steel, and the upper level being connected by a translucent atrium gateway. Rather than being a recessive nod to its setting, the building would be an eye-catching architectural feature in its own right. 

The main issue of heritage assessment and interpretation was circumvented by arranging pre-application meetings with several key council staff. Matters of concern were identified in the meeting, and we then helped the client reach a compromise by tweaking the concept to better reference some of the area's character features without substantive changes to the building design needing to be made.

By doing so we were able to mitigate the main consenting risk and come up with a design that was both in line with the client's vision and supported by the council's heritage architect prior to lodgement. We then held onsite consultation meetings with council parks staff and helped the client obtain written approval for boundary infringements, trees and dependent works located within the adjacent reserve. At our advice, the client also obtained written approval of directly adjacent neighbours.


The application was processed with supporting reports from staff and was considered by an independent commissioner who was initially unwilling to make a decision because of the difficulty of making the building's appearance fit with the historic character neighbourhood. 

The commissioner then decided that the application would be best determined at a hearing so the proposal could be presented and discussed by all parties. 4Sight managed the client's hearing preparation, reviewed the supporting evidence and presented the planning evidence. As a result, resource consent was duly granted and the new home has been built.

"4Sight Consulting achieved resource consent for our new modern-style house located in the special character area of Freemans Bay. James was an essential member of the pre-build team. James understands heritage planning issues and ensured our architect was well prepared for the design review process. With his planning skill and good relationships with council staff, he was able to guide our modern architectural design though the risky resource consent process and represented us professionally at the hearing. We are very happy with the result and thrilled to be building our new family home."

- Edoardo Canal, CPEng - Resident

Canal Family
Planning & Policy
Resource Consents
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