Land­mark de­mol­ished

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

De­mo­li­tion of the Bethany Cen­tre is well un­der way, dash­ing hopes that the for­mer home for vul­ner­a­ble moth­ers could be saved.

The build­ing at 35 Dry­den St in Grey Lynn was a Sal­va­tion Armyrun ma­ter­nity hospi­tal for un­mar­ried women for al­most 100 years be­fore shut­ting its doors.

Its own­ers say the clo­sure last year was due to the chang­ing needs of the community and the high cost of main­tain­ing the two-storey villa.

The prop­erty was pur­chased in May by de­vel­oper Cameron Ire­land Builders.

The Auck­land City Har­bour News ran an ar­ti­cle about the cen­tre in June when Mr Ire­land lodged a re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion with Auck­land Coun­cil to sub­di­vide the site for five new houses.

Mr Ire­land said at the time that he was not look­ing to de­mol­ish the house and had found a man who was go­ing to re­lo­cate it to Al­bany.

Mr Ire­land says the deal fell through be­cause the new owner couldn’t get ap­proval from the coun­cil to put new site.

‘‘Ba­si­cally we tried to give it away but it didnt work out so now it’s be­ing re­cy­cled,’’ he says.

A coun­cil spokes­woman says Mr Ire­land does not need con­sent to knock down the cen­tre be­cause it is in a res­i­den­tial 5 zone in the dis­trict plan.

She says coun­cil of­fi­cers con­firmed the build­ing didn’t qual­ify

it on the for spe­cial her­itage pro­tec­tion.

‘‘The de­vel­oper has said he will build homes that are com­pat­i­ble with the area,’’ she says.

Western Bays Community Group chair­man Ge­off Hout­man is ap­palled by the out­come.

‘‘It’s a dis­grace. It just shows a fail­ure in her­itage pro­tec­tion and in the plan­ning depart­ment. That was a land­mark you could see all over Auck­land and now it’s gone.’’

Mr Hout­man says the plans for the site don’t fit in with the Auck­land Plan’s fo­cus on higher den­sity hous­ing.

‘‘The av­er­age sec­tion around there is 400 square me­tres and here they are let­ting some­one build sec­tions that are 500sqm or more in size. What is the coun­cil ac­tu­ally try­ing to do – in­crease den­sity or not?’’

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Com­ing down: The his­toric Bethany Cen­tre is be­ing de­mol­ished to make room for five new houses.

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