Fight to save historic home
NEIGHBOURS are vowing to fight plans to remove a century-old Ponsonby home to make way for townhouses.
Summer St residents say the 1910 house, a large villa on a generous section, is rare in the suburb.
“It’s one of the very few big houses in Ponsonby,” says neighbour Paul Vodanovich.
“To me, removal or demolition of the house wouldn’t be in keeping with the rules about protection of pre-1940 houses.”
Three two-storey houses would be built to replace the home, which was converted into six flats in the 1960s.
Developer Liz Mannell has requested the application, filed last week, be publicly notified.
Mr Vodanovich says he’s pleased residents will have a say on the plan. But he says the house should still be retained, despite having been significantly altered.
“They don’t need to protect the done up, million-dollar houses. The ones they need to protect are the run-down ones.”
Neighbour Peter Crosse wants the house to stay for sentimental reasons.
“I’ve lived here all my life and it’s always been there. It’s a beautiful house.”
He’s also concerned about noise and traffic during construction.
His mother, 89-year-old Maria Crosse, has lived in Summer St for 65 years.
“When I first came here it was an elderly couple there and they had the house well kept. It was a really beautiful home,” she says.
Neighbour of 50 years Alf Fruean says he’s concerned about the impact of excavation work on neighbouring houses, and construction traffic in the narrow street.
Ms Mannell says the house is in poor condition and retains few original features.
“All of the nice features have been taken out, the bay windows have gone,” she says. “It’s certainly not a thing of beauty inside.”
She says every effort has been made to design new homes that will fit with the street’s character. Each of the three sites will be as big as most existing properties on the street.
The three weatherboard cottages will be set back from the road with landscaping and a picket fence on the street frontage. The plans comply with district plan regulations on height, carparking, and height in relation to boundary.
Ms Mannell says she’s happy to talk to neighbours about their concerns.
“We encourage people to look at the plans, because the words developer and townhouses can stir up negative connotations.”
Resource consent is required to demolish or remove a pre-1940 house in a residential 1 or 2 zone, which includes Ponsonby. Former mayor Dick Hubbard used Summer St as an example when promoting the plan change.
Cold reaction: Residents in Summer St, Ponsonby, don’t want to see a Victorian house replaced with townhouses. From left: Paul Vodanovich, Alf Fruean, Peter Crosse and Dury Fraker.
Street view: An architect’s drawing of the three new houses to be built on Summer St.