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Big plans for heritage site

Last updated 05:00 12/03/2014
Piccolo Park Early Learning Centre Concept

THE PLAN: The Piccolo Park Early Learning Centre will have barn-like buildings with solar panels and rainwater collection for vegetable gardens.

Guy homestead
Simon Smith
PEEK INSIDE: The burnt-out Guy Homestead is wrapped in plastic and will take at least five months to restore. From left: Developer JP Singh, childcare centre operator Riaz Daud, Project Link NZ project manager Smeet Girishn

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Children will be seen gardening around the Guy Homestead through a two metre-high glass fence.

Developer JP Singh says 400 square metres of toughened glass will allow the future childcare centre, that will be a part of the heritage protected house, to meet noise and viewshaft requirements.

Mr Singh bought the property after Auckland Council agreed to remove an encumbrance that prevented development of land behind the old house on Ti Rakau Drive.

It's part of the unique plan to give East Auckland children a taste of what makes heartland New Zealand special.

"It's about the clean green, the very rich wholesome produce that most of our economy still depends on," he says.

The centre will mix modern self-sufficiency with the area's rustic farming heritage.

"We are providing an ongoing tribute to the Guy family and the homestead that was once synonymous with that sort of activity," he says.

Young children will grow organic vegetables and churn butter while experiencing rainwater collection and solar panels.

"Some people may argue that they are too young to know all those kind of things, but it's the formative years that we all know are very important," Mr Singh says.

"They'll have a lot of fun putting on raincoats and gumboots and picking up a small shovel when it's raining."

Mr Singh says there has been good interest in the section behind the homestead to be auctioned on March 20.

It is being marketed as residential but what is built will be up to the purchaser and the council.

"I would be most happy to see free standing, probably two-level homes in there."

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