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Delays a concern for Heritage

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012
Michael Wood
JOE DAWSON
CONCERNED: Puketapapa Local Board chairman Michael Wood says delays in dealing with heritage scheduling could lead to the loss of historic buildings.

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Heritage campaigners fear delays to protect historic Auckland buildings could have catastrophic results.

The council has put work that would see old buildings given heritage value on the back burner while it puts the Unitary Plan together.

Planning manager Penny Pirrit says a decision to concentrate on the new plan means the steps to protect historic buildings and sites are not a priority.

"The current priority for council's planning and policy resource is the delivery of the Unitary Plan provisions," Ms Pirrit says.

"As the Unitary Plan is a key tool to implement the Auckland Plan, emphasis is on this work rather than plan changes."

Historic buildings are protected via a plan change.

Puketapapa Local Board chairman Michael Wood says members fear the delays will mean its list of five properties will not be added to.

"We have real concern about this for the future.

"The scheduling has been delayed so all those sorts of buildings will be held off until the Unitary Plan.

"Those buildings are a real priority for us so it's a real concern to us. In this area we only have five heritage buildings and any thing else is fair game . . . if there's no protection they can knock it over.

"It will be notified but you won't be able to do anything about it."

One building that has been pushed off the scheduling process is the old Mt Roskill Fire Station.

The building was built in 1927 and was sold earlier this year.

Mr Wood says it is not protected and could be pulled down or drastically renovated. But in this case the board and community is fortunate to have a new owner who is committed to restoring the old building to its former glory.

"If it was the other way around we would potentially face the risk of losing it because of the delay.

"There are some privately owned sites where there is real concern we could lose them if they are not protected in a timely fashion."

He also has concerns about the 1950s-era Mt Roskill Borough Council chambers on the corner of Mt Albert and Mt Eden roads.

That building is empty because of black mould and Mr Wood says he would like to see it protected and restored.

"This year the board requested it be considered for heritage listing," he says. "It's not the most beautiful building but it is very much a part of the history of Mt Roskill and we want to see it retained along with other buildings."

He says enormous growth is planned for Auckland over the next 20 years and it is important to look after the city's heritage.

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Ms Pirrit says plan changes notified before the decision to focus on the Unitary Plan will proceed.

Council staff are working on including extra historic heritage places, like buildings, archaeological sites and conservation areas, into the existing schedule.

"These places will form part of the schedule and therefore have a level of protection at the time the Unitary Plan is notified as statutory draft."

That is expected to be late next year.

- Central Leader

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