CITY officials have no concerns about a 1930s bay villa knocked down under a consent for alterations and additions.
But neighbours say the demolition makes a mockery of the city’s heritage protection rules.
“It shouldn’t have been allowed,” says neighbour Raewyn Jacobs.
“We’re really disappointed that another one has gone.”
The one-level villa in St Marys Bay was demolished under consent granted in 2004, before tougher heritage rules were put in place.
The consent allowed for alterations to the house and addition of a new level.
Neighbours who had approved the plans were shocked to see the house knocked down in January.
“It’s a shame because that was a really good example of the lovely old houses in this area,” Mrs Jacobs says.
“There were four houses there in a row that were all original, and now you’ve got this stuck in the middle.”
Neighbour Alan Barber says he doesn’t understand the council’s approval.
“What’s the use of having planning laws if people can go around knocking down these beautiful old houses?
“To have council enable this house to be demolished and replaced with what’s clearly not an appropriate dwelling is ridiculous.”
But owner Vinda SinghCosgrave says demolition was her only option.
She says front and back walls were earmarked for removal in original plans.
A third wall needed to be replaced in order to meet fire-proofing standards, and the fourth was found to be rotten.
“The decision was made that rather than trying to restore it we had to take that last wall down,” she says.
“I was given permission and carried it out according to what the council said I had to do.”
Council regulatory planning manager Andew Gysberts says he’s “relaxed” about the demolition.
And he says the owner could have taken the same action with consent issued under the current district plan.
New rules mean resource consent is needed for demolition of pre-1940 houses in character suburbs including St Marys Bay.
Mr Gysberts says council is mostly concerned the finished house matches approved plans.
“There was nothing in the consent around how they get from A to B,” he says.
“At this stage we have no concerns we’re not going to get the outcome the council has signed off.”
He says the council will be watching closely to ensure plans are followed.
Mr Gysberts says in future officers may look more closely at consents where demolition could be required.
“If we thought in structural terms that they needed to take away all of what was currently there then we might require them to advise us to that effect.”
City development committee chairman Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga agrees processes may need to change.
“There needs to be a bit more care taken to see whether such cases are heading towards demolition,” he says.
Mr Lotu-Iiga says it’s an unfortunate case, but he’s satisfied the owner acted in good faith.
Extreme makeover: Raewyn Jacobs is among neighbours angry at the demolition of a St Marys Bay villa.