New site sought for stately home

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 08:00 02/02/2013
Palmerston North City Council road planning team leader David Lane
ROBERT KITCHIN

MOVING AGAIN: Palmerston North City Council road planning team leader David Lane wants a new location for his grand James Line residence which is considered to be in the way of progress.

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A stately, 102-year-old Palmerston North house is destined to be moved a second time to make way for a road link to the city's next housing area at Whakarongo.

The large, 380-square-metre home with up to 10 bedrooms has stood on the James Line property next to the railway line for 30 years.

Its previous owners, Gerald and Gerda Borgonje, moved "Huntly" there in four parts from its original site in Featherston St, behind the former Family Tavern near Rangitikei St.

They worked hard to restore some of the home's original splendour, even rebuilding a concrete chimney, but put it on the market in 2010.

The Palmerston North City Council made a strategic decision to buy the 8000-square-metre property because of its location.

Road planning team leader David Lane said it secured land for road access to future residential development at Whakarongo, but to create the road, the house needed to go.

When the tenants moved out recently, the decision was made to advertise the house for sale for relocation.

Mr Lane said the council had a right of way on the western boundary of the property, but it was only 11 metres wide, and the design of modern collector roads required 20 to 22 metres. That would extend to the very edge of the house.

"We are not sure exactly where we will put the road, but it's most likely the house could not stay."

The balance of the property was likely to be subdivided to produce up to 10 sections.

Although the house has no heritage listing, Mr Lane said it had been well cared for by the previous owners.

"It's a house that needs to be on a large block of land, and really needs to be loved by someone."

There was no immediate urgency to build a road across the property, but Mr Lane said it would be a pity to leave the house empty and deteriorating, and the council would rather avoid the mounting maintenance costs.

Meantime, the council is working to free up land at Whakarongo for residential development.

City planner David Murphy is expected to report to the planning and policy committee next month on the proposal to rezone the land to residential.

The parcel of land is bounded by Napier Rd, James Line as far as the Kelvin Grove Cemetery, and across to Stoney Creek Rd.

It is expected to produce about 700 sections.

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