Residents being hit by heritage protection
It’s news to Cathy Catto that her home is a historic gem.
So she was surprised to hear it’s been afforded heritage protection.
The eastern ends of Halesowen Ave and Calgary St, as well as the southern part of Pine St and a small section of Dominion Rd became known as the Devon Estate when the area was developed as a subdivision in the 1920s.
The subdivision is now a historic heritage area which means residents will need resource consent to make alterations to their houses and can’t do anything that will disrupt the character of the area.
It’s one of the highest heritage protections available.
The rule change is part of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan but came into effect when the plan was put out for public consultation on September 30.
Residents of the subdivision weren’t individually notified until two weeks before submissions closed on February 28.
That isn’t sitting well with Ms Catto. ‘‘They wanted us to make submissions and they give us two weeks,’’ she says.
The information was publicly available but it’s not something a lot of people would think to look for, she says.
‘‘And what does it mean? The information given to residents for consultation is not specific on how the Unitary Plan will affect our properties.’’
The Devon Estate is one of 11 historic heritage areas across Auckland added to the plan after consultation on the draft version last year.
A heritage report by the Auckland Council says the estate is of considerable local historical significance as a reflection of Balmoral’s early development.
Although changes have been made to many of the properties, much of the character of the area is still intact, which the report says adds to its significance.
Ms Catto doesn’t see her bungalow as anything particularly special.
She and her husband bought it 28 years ago and have since renovated.
‘‘When we moved here
it wasn’t a flash area, it was all we could afford. It’s not significant, it just happened to be built at that point in time.
‘‘Suddenly it’s become trendy to Auckland to preserve.
‘‘And it’s been here for 85 years and still looks like a bungalow. It doesn’t need special laws,’’ she says.
The Devon Estate subdivision was assessed for heritage protection at the request of the Albert-Eden Local Board.
‘‘Preserving Albert-Eden’s built and natural heritage has been a local board priority,’’ chairman Peter Haynes says.
‘‘The additional protections for these areas were welcomed by most of the people who lived in them. You’ll recall that last year there was a great deal of concern about losing the character of our suburbs and a call for additional protections.’’
Mr Haynes says the board was disappointed to learn that the residents hadn’t been individually told about the change. ‘‘We stressed to council officers that this was a major oversight.’’
The board intends to hold a meeting for residents wanting more information.
Not happy: Cathy Catto isn’t happy that new rules affecting what she can do with her house came into effect without her knowing.