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Heritage area suggested for town centre

Flagstaff Team

On the map… Auckland Councillor Chris Darby holds the floor during a Devonport public meeting on Special Character Areas

The creation of a historic heritage area to protect the Devonport business centre is being proposed to Auckland Council.

Consultation is under way on massive changes to housing zoning across Auckland due to government law changes.

Devonport Heritage wants council to make Devonport’s historic centre – from Windsor Reserve and Marine Square up both sides of Victoria Rd to Takarunga – into a historic heritage area.

“Windsor Reserve is an already protected archaeological site and Victoria Rd is one of the most intact early commercial streets in Auckland,” Devonport Heritage chair Margot McRae said.

The street was built on the toe of the volcanic cone of Takarunga that dominates the town. “Declaring it a historic heritage area will further ensure it is protected and managed well into the future.” she said.

New heritage benchmark retains protections for Devonport housing

Fears that Devonport’s heritage character would suffer under a government push for intensification have been eased by an Auckland Council decision. But major changes still lie ahead for much of the peninsula. The Flagstaff details the issues.

Darby behind motion that protected Devonport

North Shore Councillor Chris Darby was behind the push to safeguard protection of Devonport’s residential heritage status, minutes of a confidential Auckland Council planning committee meeting show.

Raw data from council surveys of properties in the Special Character Area south of the golf course showed Devonport central, Cheltenham, Stanley Point and Narrow Neck failed to reach a threshold of 75 per cent of properties of high heritage value.

The data was considered behind closed doors by Auckland councillors. But leaked maps published by the Flagstaff sent shockwaves through the community.

The council response was considered in a closed meeting of the planning committee on 31 March. Confidential minutes show Darby proposed a motion (seconded by Mayor Phil Goff) that effectively protected the majority of Devonport properties.

The motion meant that Special Character overlays within walkable distances of rapid-transit zones or metropolitan centres would require 75 per cent of properties to have a score of 5 or 6.

But outside the walkable catchments – an area such as Devonport south of the golf course – the criterion was 66 per cent. North Shore Councillor Richard Hills also voted for the 66 per cent qualification.

However, Darby and Hills, and 12 other councillors voted against a proposal, put forward by councillor Wayne Walker, that the threshold for protection be set at 50 per cent of properties gaining scores of 4,5 or 6.

Stanley Bay found to be the heritage hero

Stanley Bay has a higher proportion of heritage homes than Devonport and Cheltenham, Auckland Council surveys have revealed.

Field surveys conducted by council found 339 Stanley Bay houses – 86 per cent – attained one of the top two property-rating scores based on heritage criteria.

In the Devonport/Cheltenham area south of the golf course, 1020 homes, or 69 per cent made it into the top two scores.

The raw findings were contained in council reports compiled in January.

“The Devonport Special Character Area – Residential is not of high-quality, special-character value,” the report said.

“An area of high quality is determined to be one that has 75 per cent or more individual properties scoring with 5 or 6 (on a value scale). This area has 69 per cent of individual properties scoring either 5 or 6.”

In the Narrow Neck Special Character Area – from Grove Rd to Narrow Neck Beach – 94 properties (54 per cent of homes) were given scores of five or six, with the overall area rated as “not of high-quality special-character value.”

Stanley Point had 58 homes scoring 5 or 6 on the rating scale (58 per cent), again putting it outside qualification as an area of special character.

The surveys were done from the streetscapes and supplemented by Google mapping information.

The maps reveal Cheltenham beachfront and adjoining streets, Ariho Terrace, parts of Queens and King Edward Pdes, and Vauxhall Rd as areas having large numbers of homes with a heritage rating of only 1 on the scale.

Properties were rated on scale, relationship to the street, period of development, typology, architectural style and “level of physical integrity”.

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