End of the road for Arnst Place

Close-knit neighbours in a Dallington cul-de-sac gathered over a glass of rum to listen to the fate of their homes today.

All eyes were on Prime Minister John Key as he announced the Government would buy 5000 insured homes in Christchurch's worst-affected suburbs.

The Arnst Place cul-de-sac has been home to Graeme Harper for 50 years.

He calls himself the "old granddad of the place" and today, along with his neighbours, he found out his home is listed in the residential red zone.

The Arnst Place residents have been neighbours for between 20 and 50 years and said it "seemed right" to be together when the land report was announced.

The neighbours clapped when Key said homeowners had the choice to accept the Crown's offer to buy properties at their current rating value or its offer to buy the land only, allowing homeowners to deal with their private insurers for their homes. 

Rod and Patsy Stocks have lived in Arnst Place for 26 years and said they were nervous before the announcement but  relieved to hear the final decision.

"One winter is enough living like this. I am relieved we won't have to live in a broken street for the next four to six years," Patsy Stocks said.

After the announcement, Warwick Schulz, who has lived in the cul-de-sac for 32 years, went online and read out the fate of his friends' homes.

"Red. Three Arnst Place. Four Arnst Place. Five Arnst Place. Six Arnst Place. Seven Arnst Place." He carried on to No 17, which meant every house in the cul-de-sac is listed in the residential red zone.

The neighbours, who have become so close they have keys to each other's homes, said they would like to stay together but it would not be possible.

''We don't really have a choice. We just have to go our separate ways now,'' Patsy Stocks said.

The neighbours hope to catch up for a ''casual rum every now and again'' when they are settled into their new homes in their new suburbs.

Rum has become a frequent drink for the Arnst Place residents, who said it settled the nerves after earthquakes.

"We always were a close community, but we never used to have rums together before the quakes started," Rod Stocks said.

The Press