Spotlight soon on historic street

The history of Savage Cres will soon be told on noticeboards displayed on the corner of Palmerston North's Park Rd and Cook St.

A joint project between the Palmerston North City Council and Historic Places Manawatu-Horowhenua, the goal for unveiling the display kiosk is Esplanade Day at the end of the month.

Most of the words, photos and plans that will be put on display have been selected by historian Margaret Tate and fellow committee member Don Irvine, who has designed the project.

Mr Irvine, a former city councillor and engineer, said the project had been in development for several years, but 2013 was a significant year, being 75 years from the building of the first home in the state housing area.

Built between 1938 and 1945, the Savage Cres community has been home to many city leaders, including former Labour MPs Trevor de Cleene and Steve Maharey.

It was one of the first examples of a state housing area, notable for its design around a central park, and because it was one of the best preserved.

In 1996 it was recognised as a conservation area in the Palmerston North district plan.

There are restrictions on subdivision, demolition and extra buildings.

Mr Irvine said the city council's help in guiding anyone wanting to carry out alterations or additions to the properties had gone a long way to help preserve the original layout and quality of the area.

"The council and other parties have undertaken some very positive actions to preserve the integrity of the original intent and design.

"Given that two-thirds of the 240-plus houses are in private ownership, it is quite an achievement - there are really only a couple of mistakes that I think have been made."

Historic Places committee member David Chapple described the area as one of the most significant and most intact examples of good state housing design.

"We want to make sure it stays desirable and attractive," he said.

Manawatu Standard