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Council’s Brooklyn property sale excluded public, say locals

Dec 24th, 2013 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Lead Story, News

600BUILDING IS finally about to begin on vacant land at 11 Vennell Street, in Brooklyn,after a five-year process which locals say has excluded the public.

New owners and social housing developers, the Wellington Housing Trust, began preparing to build four new homes this month.

Deciding what the site would be used for has been an issue for the residents of the Vogeltown, Mornington and the Brooklyn areas.

Brooklyn Residents Association secretary, Carl Savage said the Wellington City Council consultation process excluded residents.

“We were more than somewhat surprised by how things transpired,” Mr Savage said.

“It was only in the last 12 months or so we became aware that the council and housing trust had actually got to a stage of a contract to purchase the land and build on it.”

However, Wellington City Council senior communications advisor Richard MacLean said the council gave the public the chance to make submissions on the proposal for the trust to purchase the land in May 2011 through an advertisement in the Dominion Post newspaper.

He said only five submissions were received.

The final decision to sell the land to the trust was publicly notified six months later.

The property was originally purchased by the council to accommodate its CitiOperations business until 2005.

Brooklyn Residents Association president Simon McLellan said the process was not held in the open, and he challenges what the council understands as “public notification”.

“We feel wrong-footed that public land was sold without a fair and reasonable understanding. It is clear to me that a process was chosen to have the public excluded,” he said.

In 2008 it was decided the land would be disposed of and a meeting was held with the Vogelmorn Tennis Club and the Vogelmorn Residents Association.

The Council suggested residents voice their concerns in a formal proposal but no action was taken.

The land designation was changed from public open space to residential space in 2010.

Wellington Housing Trust director Alison Cadman said they met with local residents to discuss their issues and concerns.

“They seem to have issues with the land being sold,” Ms Cadman said.

“We have tried hard to let as many organisations as possible know about the project.”

The trust is still communicating with local groups to inform them that construction will be starting in January.

The trust provides housing to suit low and moderate income families in the Wellington region.

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is a student journalist studying at Whitireia in Welington. She is keen on keeping up with the news and writing stories that will have impact in the community. She is currently reporting stories within the Brooklyn area. She is interested in using multi-media in the news room.
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  1. Good to get the background on this particular issue. Thanks for covering the Brooklyn beat. I don’t mind the council selling that land in Vennell St to a public housing trust. Your link makes it clear it’s a not-for-profit org with an interest in social housing.

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