Moved building waits on heritage ruling
Will it stay, or will it go? The future of a historic community house is up in the air after a misunderstanding halted its removal.
Pt Chevalier’s Old Homestead Community House is being stored at a facility in Kumeu after the Auckland Council granted a temporary consent for it to be removed from its site on Pt Chevalier Rd.
It is believed to have been built more than 100 years ago and could be one of the area’s oldest buildings.
Its owner, the Cooperating Parish, says it has known for some time it is in a dilapidated and potentially unsafe state.
The church has been in talks for years with the community and groups that use it about plans to build a new facility on the site.
Workers were in the process of removing the building earlier this month when the Auckland Council ordered them to stop because the homestead is protected by a rule in the draft Unitary Plan covering buildings constructed before 1944.
The rule only came in to effect on September 30 and the homestead’s owners believed they were within their rights to remove the house.
The Co-operating Parish will now need resource consent to continue.
The house spent about a week sitting on a trailer before the council gave temporary permission for it to be removed while final consent is arranged.
The council’s hearings committee felt it would be safer to have the house stored at the Kumeu facility.
If the church isn’t successful in getting consent the house will need to be put back on the site.
Reverend Sandra Warner says the church is in discussions with the council and can’t comment until the issue is resolved.
Despite the confusion Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes is calling the events an excellent test case for the new heritage protection rules.
‘‘The church would have every right to feel it has been hard done by,’’ he says.
‘‘But on the other hand, with my heritage hat on, I can’t deny I’m pleased that the pre-1944 controls that many people are sceptical about are working.’’
He says more needs to be done to make people aware of the new rules.