Fight to save his­toric home

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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