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Source: Auckland Council

Discussions this afternoon between Auckland Council and the Save the Queen Street Society (SQSS) failed to resolve differences between the two parties on the future direction of Queen Street.

Mayor Phil Goff says it is unfortunate for the large number of Aucklanders who want to see Queen Street improved for pedestrians that the legal action initiated by SQSS could delay the works and impose legal costs on the ratepayer.

“Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have in good faith, attempted to work with SQSS on the issues it has raised over a number of meetings across several days. Unfortunately, common ground could not be reached without compromising the outcome for Queen Street and the thousands of Aucklanders who live, work, study and shop there.

“Auckland Council’s responsibility is to deliver on the plan for Queen Street Valley which was widely consulted on and unanimously agreed in the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) in 2020.

“What we want is for Queen Street to be a great place for people, not simply a thoroughfare for cars.

“The CCMP received 76 per cent support during consultation and we’re not prepared to compromise on what it can deliver and ignore the views of other stakeholders.

“The inability to reach agreement with this group ironically means the court action initiated by SQSS may further delay removal of COVID-response works that SQSS has called for and the planned enhancements to the northern end of Queen Street. It will also impose legal costs on ratepayers,” Phil Goff says.

Works are due to begin next week to improve the northern end of Queen Street, between Customs Street and Shortland Street.

The re-developed section of the street was due to open by the end of June, with the temporary yellow sticks, plastic planter boxes and painted asphalt that was installed to enable social distancing during the COVID-19 lockdowns removed.

The plan for the northern end, which is now the subject of court proceedings, includes pavements being widened with high-quality timber decking, new street furniture and vibrant green spaces with native planting and a new pocket park.