The Herald reports:
A landmark 1905 villa sitting on a $3.5 million piece of land in Herne Bay, the country’s most expensive suburb, is for sale for removal.
The Jervois Rd landmark was occupied by the Erawan Thai restaurant for more than 20 years, but in 2012, owner Jessica Woo got approval from Auckland Council to remove or demolish it.
Ms Woo also owns a villa backing on to the Erawan site in Lawrence St, valued at $1.42 million, which she has permission to remove or demolish.
Owners should be allowed to remove a building on their land, so they can build a new one – unless it has exceptional heritage value.
The building in 110 years old. Age alone does not make a building a heritage building. In most countries a building 100 years old isn’t even uncommon – their heritage buildings are the ones 400 years old.
The Western Bays Community Group has called the potential loss of the villa a shocker.
Christine Cavanagh, of Herne Bay 1011, said while the group understood the owner had consent to remove the building, “we’re extremely concerned that this is just the start of heritage destruction”.
She said just four doors away, two adjoining villas were for sale on the north side of Jervois Rd between Lawrence St and Sentinel Rd. They have no heritage protection under the Auckland Council’s proposed Unitary Plan.
This did not make sense, Mrs Cavanagh said, when adjoining streets were protected by a pre-1944 demolition rule in the draft plan – the new planning rulebook.
I have a solution. Why doesn’t Herne Bay 1011 buy the villa and spent their own money on keeping it?
If the villa was not listed as a heritage property when the current owner purchased it, it is grossly unfair to try and retrospectively change its classification, as this can massively affect the value of the property.
There are a number of properties in New Zealand that do deserve heritage protection. But just because a house is an old villa, doesn’t mean it does.