Fi­nal farewell for villa

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

A CEN­TURY-old villa is be­ing trucked out of Herne Bay and the com­mu­nity is al­ready mourn­ing the loss.

Work to re­move the land­mark villa at 165 Jer­vois Rd, which was home to the Erawan Thai restau­rant for more than 20 years, started in March.

It has been bought by a house re­moval com­pany and will be on-sold.

The lat­est cap­i­tal value of the site was $2.8 mil­lion and it is zoned for up to four storeys in the pro­posed uni­tary plan.

West­ern Bays ad­vo­cate Ge­off Hout­man says the sub­urb will never be the same.

The villa was left un­pro­tected when the for­mer Auck­land City Coun­cil changed the zon­ing of sur­round­ing her­itage sites in 1993, he says.

The Free­mans Bay res­i­dent took part in a se­ries of protests at the site in 2012.

The villa was listed for sale on Trade Me for of­fers above $200,000 at the end of last year.

‘‘If the villa was a per­son and they were hav­ing their 110th birth­day, the Queen would send them a let­ter, we would have a party. This just gets chucked on a truck.

‘‘The sub­urb seems to be los­ing its char­ac­ter faster than ev­ery­one else,’’ Hout­man says.

Herne Bay 1011 chair­woman Christine Ca­vanagh says there is a sense of fore­bod­ing for the sub­urb’s other vil­las.

It is a shame there was no con­sul­ta­tion be­tween the owner and the com­mu­nity, she says.

‘‘The big­gest con­cern is that you’ve got quite a lovely group­ing of houses on Jer­vois Rd that have quite sig­nif­i­cant value to the com­mu­nity.

‘‘What is coun­cil go­ing to do about pro­tect­ing the other vil­las on that stretch?’’ The villa was bought by Craig Walker Build­ing Re­movals in Fe­bru­ary and will be sold from the com­pany’s yard in Kumeu.

Walker says the villa will be moved in three parts.

‘‘We save things from go­ing to the rub­bish tip.

‘‘The neat thing about it is that the house is be­ing pre­served, it’s just go­ing to be pre­served in an­other part of New Zealand. It’s go­ing to pro­vide hous­ing for an­other fam­ily,’’ he says.

Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board chair­man Shale Cham­bers is hope­ful the pro­posed uni­tary plan rules will safe­guard her­itage vil­las in the fu­ture.

‘‘We had known this was com­ing for a while and we have very much re­gret­ted it as a lo­cal board.

‘‘That’s why we fo­cus so much on get­ting rules right go­ing for­ward.

‘‘We hope that what’s pro­posed for that site will add to the en­vi­ron­ment, rather than be­ing a sec­ond knife in the heart.’’

An Auck­land Coun­cil spokesper­son says there are cur­rently no re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions lodged for the site’s re­de­vel­op­ment.

The for­mer Auck­land City Coun­cil gave the villa a cer­tifi­cate of com­pli­ance in 2012, so it could be re­moved or de­mol­ished with­out con­sent.

The neigh­bour­ing site at 6 Lawrence St has been is­sued the same com­pli­ance, al­low­ing for the de­mo­li­tion or re­moval of the villa, he says.

The owner of both prop­er­ties is Wisimca Com­pany. Chair­woman Jes­sica Woo could not be reached for com­ment.

West­ern Bays ad­vo­cate Ge­off Hout­man, front, call­ing for the villa to be saved in 2012.

The com­mu­nity is say­ing good­bye to a 1905 villa on Jer­vois Rd.

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