Onehunga villa removal upsets residents
A group of Auckland residents is disappointed their efforts to stop a 113-year-old Edwardian villa being removed from their neighbourhood has failed.
The 1200sqm section at 184 Arthur St in Onehunga was sold in September to DPP Investments director Dineshbhai Patel.
Its three bedroom, two bathroom, 175sqm home was then sold to a buyer in Devonport and was removed on Wednesday to be relocated across the Harbour Bridge.
Auckland Council said the property owner did not need a resource consent to remove the house from the site.
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The property owner Dineshbhai Patel was contacted but declined to comment.
Helen Bary, who had lived across the road for 30 years, said it was disappointing to see such a "wonderful and iconic" Onehunga home gone.
"It is history that can never be replaced - the only consolation is the developer didn't knock the loved home down," Bary said.
The villa was loaded onto a truck at 11.30pm, watched on by many locals, she said.
"The lovely home was taken down the street tearing tree branches away as the house knocked into them," Bary said.
Arthur St resident Alex Young said the house was cut into two sections and the roof was removed before it was relocated.
In December Young wrote to Auckland Council on behalf of a group of Onehunga residents, expressing concerns about the proposed removal.
In January council confirmed with Young that there was no restriction on redevelopment in Onehunga's Arthur St, due to a pre-1944 building protection clause being excluded from Auckland's Unitary Plan.
Under the Auckland Unitary Plan the house was not subject to any heritage protection.
The property was within the Unitary Plan's terraced housing and apartment building zone, which provides for more intensive development.
Professor Ralph Stewart and Fiona North bought the villa for their Devonport property.
"Onehunga is changing dramatically and I understand the Onehunga residents position about seeing the villa leave the area," North said.
"The reality is the developer bought the Onehunga property and didn't want the house".
She said she valued the house for it's architectural heritage and would restore and preserve it.
"In this way what could have been demolished, has not been demolished because we bought the villa."
In February Young contacted Character Coalition to update them on the proposed removal of the villa.
The Character Coalition describes itself as an umbrella group representing heritage, historical and special interest groups and residents associations who care about the city.
In 2016 the Character Coalition lodged an appeal in the High Court asking Auckland Council to review zoning changes under its Unitary Plan in a number of Auckland's suburbs.
The appeal focused on late changes made without public consultation that could put older character homes at risk for no clear benefit.
The Coalition's appeal was rejected by the High Court in February meaning villas in Onehunga were not protected from being removed.
It is not known what is planned for the Albert St property now that it is vacant.