Neigh­bours bat­tle new house plan

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

THE FATE of an “eye­sore” on Clarence St – a Pon­sonby her­itage street – will be de­cided at an Auck­land City Coun­cil hear­ing next week.

The di­lap­i­dated house on the his­toric street came to the at­ten­tion of lo­cals in 2005 when own­ers Michael Per­van and Amy Od­ing ap­plied for its de­mo­li­tion to build a new house on the site.

The is­sue has stirred up op­po­si­tion among res­i­dents and next Wed­nes­day nine sub­mit­ters, mostly op­pos­ing the new de­vel­op­ment, will present their case to coun­cil com­mis­sion­ers.

Al­though some sup­port the de­mo­li­tion of the ram­shackle house built in the 1880s, all have op­posed the new build­ing, say­ing it is out of keep­ing with the char­ac­ter of the street.

Par­nell Her­itage So­ci­ety sec­re­tary Kate Bow­den says the new build­ing, a sin­gle level house with a base­ment level, is a mod­ern ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign that would look like a “whale out of wa­ter” in the quaint street.

Ms Bow­den says the first pri­or­ity should be to re­tain the ex­ist­ing build­ing if pos­si­ble.

“It’s quite clearly part of the her­itage and char­ac­ter of our city,” she says.

“It’s one of the small re­main­ing bas­tions of her­itage that we have.”

Ideally, she says, the so­ci­ety would like to see the ap­pli­cants re­con­sider their plans for the prop­erty.

“We’d hope that any­one who moves into a res­i­den­tial one-zoned prop­erty wants to keep the her­itage and work with it.”

Ap­prov­ing the de­mo­li­tion would fly in the face of plan change 163, a mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the district plan pro­posed in 2005 that tightly re­stricts the de­mo­li­tion of her­itage build­ings and construction of new build­ings in ar­eas zoned res­i­den­tial one, says Ms Bow­den.

“Our con­cern is to en­sure that any change in the res­i­den­tial one zone sets an ap­pro­pri­ate prece­dent for other applications,” she says.

Since 2005, six dif­fer­ent en­gi­neer­ing and ar­chi­tec­tural firms have as­sessed the build­ing and gen­er­ally agree it is too run­down to be re­stored. Archi­fact Ltd, which as­sessed the build­ing in 2008, was the only firm to ad­vise that de­mo­li­tion of the house would de­tract from Clarence St’s “con­ti­nu­ity and char­ac­ter”.

Lo­raine Lover­ing, who lives next door to the site, says the new build­ing de­sign is not har­mo­nious with the char­ac­ter of the street.

“I think it would be a real eye­sore. At least build a build­ing that’s sym­pa­thetic.”

She says she would like to see more re­search done into whether the build­ing can be re­stored.

Ms Lover­ing says the new de­vel­op­ment will also have detri­men­tal ef­fects to a large bay tree on her prop­erty and on sur­round­ing trees.

But an­other Clarence St res­i­dent, Paora Maxwell, says he’d rather see some­thing done about the build­ing than have it left to de­te­ri­o­rate.

“I’d rather they do some­thing be­cause it’s such an eye­sore,” he says. “They’ve just let it rot.”

Mr Maxwell says the plans for the new house look “quite nice” and he has no ob­jec­tions to it.

In a re­port to the coun­cil, plan­ning con­sul­tant Sarah Moss­man has rec­om­mended the ap­pli­ca­tion be de­clined, call­ing the new de­sign “in­con­sis­tent” with the guide­lines for the street, the district plan and plan change 163.

Ms Moss­man also states the pro­posal will have “more than mi­nor” ef­fects on the en­vi­ron­ment, in par­tic­u­lar trees on sur­round­ing prop­er­ties.

The ap­pli­cants could not be reached for com­ment.

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