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Going, going, gone

JESS LEE
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2014
1920s Villa
SYBILLE HETET

MOVING DAY: Contractors remove the 1920s house from its site.

1920s Villa
SYBILLE HETET
GRAND LADY: The property at 20 Cockburn St, Grey Lynn sold for $2.76 million in February 2013.

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A piece of suburban heritage that was trucked away in a matter of moments has left Grey Lynn residents wondering what might go next.

A 1920s villa that stood on the corner of Cockburn and Farrar streets was removed last week to make way for new housing developments on the 1416 square metre section.

Developers didn't need consent to remove the house under current legislation. They would if the draft Unitary Plan was in force.

Heritage campaigner Allan Matson says people need to take notice as more of our heritage disappears.

"People are waking up to the fact their streets are vulnerable to this and they ought to know because it affects the property values."

The Grey Lynn case is one of the anomalies of a legacy of failure to properly assess heritage, he says.

A Bayleys real estate spokesman says the property sold to a developer at auction in February 2013 for $2.76 million.

Grey Lynn Residents Association member Nicola Legat says it is a sad day for heritage.

"Although the house has been compromised with numerous alterations over the years it had a huge presence on Cockburn St. It was part of the streetscape."

Many residents are unaware of the vulnerability of heritage houses, she says.

Neighbouring resident Sybille Hetet is worried about what the new development will look like.

"I am sad that this piece of history was not given a chance to live, especially as it is a corner site. It changes the character of the street irrevocably."

An Auckland Council spokesman says the immediate area surrounding the property is a mixture of residential 1, residential 5 and residential 6a zoning.

The 20 Cockburn St site is within the residential 6a zone where demolition is permitted.

The site is zoned as mixed housing with a Heritage: pre-1944 Demolition Control overlay in the draft Unitary Plan.

Mr Matson urges people to make submissions regarding the overlay before the closing date of February 28.

"It's not going to stop development but it will act as a gatekeeper that will require developers to look at alternatives."

Grey Lynn resident Jocelyn Weatherall says the overlay won't go far enough to preserve the suburb's history.

"The council have failed here through weak consent."

Phone 301 0101 or see aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/unitaryplan.

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