Heritage fears rising

KEEPING CHARACTER: Eleven commercial buildings on Victoria Rd have had their heritage status downgraded by the Auckland Council.

More than 100 North Shore buildings have lost their heritage protection leaving them open for development, Kaipatiki Local Board member Grant Gillon says.

Mr Gillon says recent changes to the district plan heritage schedule leave him suspicious that the Auckland Council is making way for development.

“I see plans coming out advocating intensification and then these heritage changes happen in areas that are considered city fringe,” he says.

“When protection is removed it leaves these areas vulnerable and it’s like we’re one step closer to development.”

The council says the removal of almost 100 houses and downgrading of 35 buildings will not affect their level of protection because they are in areas that already have heritage zoning.

Devonport, Birkenhead Pt and Northcote Pt are all zoned residential 3 with tight controls over demolition and renovations.

But Mr Gillon says the council is doing a major zoning overhaul later this year and these areas are not guaranteed to keep their character zoning.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of confidence they will be protected,” he says.

Claudia Paige of Devonport Heritage agrees.

She is most concerned about the change of status from heritage A to B for a row of commercial buildings on Victoria Rd which removes the need to notify the public of any alterations.

This means it will be in the council’s hands to allow alterations, which Ms Paige says is very worrying.

“The council has a had a pretty poor record of dealing with discretionary matters,” she says.

Ms Paige says three category B heritage houses in Rata Rd, Devonport, have been either demolished or substantially renovated after the council used its discretionary power to give the green light on changes.

She is happy with the new additions to the heritage list, including local sports clubs but says the changes could have waited until after the unitary plan is drafted.

“It’s a bit presumptuous and too soon when we have the zoning revisit in the pipeline.”

Click here for more on Proposed Plan Change 38

Credits

Written by: MARNIE HALLAHAN
Photo/s by:GRAHAME COX
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times

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