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'Eyesore' to be restored

SIMON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2013
Guy homestead

FINALLY: Huntington Park Residents and Ratepayers chairman Alan Davies is happy something is going to be done about the burnt out homestead. ‘‘As to the realisation of the outcome, we don’t know.’’

Guy house
HOT SPOT: The hole where the fire might have started, pictured six months before the arson.
Guy Homestead
EXTENSIVE DAMAGE: Little remains of the back rooms of the Guy homestead.

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A buyer has been found for the charred Guy homestead and the NZ Historic Places Trust says it is to be restored.

The derelict, protected house sits on a grassy hill next to The Hub on Ti Rakau Drive and was extensively damaged by an arson attack one year ago.

Heritage adviser Robin Byron says the trust had hoped and advocated for the landmark to be preserved "after years of neglect".

"The Historic Places Trust has liaised with the new owner about its rescue, and we are delighted that the old homestead is to be restored and meaningfully adaptively re-used, and that it will continue to be a visibly prominent and valuable heritage survivor in the local landscape."

Century 21 Pakuranga real estate agent Lawrence Wong confirms an offer has been signed but won't say who the new owners will be or what the settlement date is.

Twin Oaks Holdings Ltd's original asking price for the 7950 square metre property was $3.5 million, he says.

Records show it last sold for $640,000 on August 12, 1997, and its rateable value on July 1, 2011, was $2.15m.

Auckland Council says the Guy homestead will not be demolished and its heritage team is working with the owners on plans to restore it.

"However, it's too early at this stage to confirm the future use of the building or provide a restoration time line," a spokeswoman says.

Howick resident Nick Neben has campaigned for the building to be restored.

"I am satisfied that my persistent hounding of Auckland Council pre and post the fire has eventuated in what could be a monumental win for the people of Howick and greater Auckland," he says.

"I will be lobbying the Auckland Council and our local MP Jami-Lee Ross to tighten the laws to prohibit historic and heritage properties being sold privately without legislation to ensure they are maintained and kept secure."

Detective Sergeant John Love says the investigation into the December 1, 2012, arson is filed pending further information.

"We had some follow-up inquiries relating to a vehicle sighting at the time however no-one has been interviewed as a suspect for this."

The NZ Fire Services' incident report reveals a 111 caller saw a male teenager in a purple basketball shirt running from the scene.

Fire investigator Phil Faidley says the blaze was caused by an incendiary and spread quickly.

He is not sure exactly how it started but says residents heard muffled bangs shortly beforehand.

The building had been vacant for more than 15 years.

Historian Alan La Roche says the homestead was built by Andrew and Rose Guy on an orchard and dairy farm they bought in 1899. It is classified by the NZ Historic Places Trust as a Category 2 building and protected by the council.

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- Eastern Courier

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