15 July, 2021
Time to rise up for our heritage
Devonport residents need to take up the fight to preserve our heritage suburb.
The government has ordered more intensive development in Auckland – and our historic homes are far from safe.
Auckland Council is conducting a survey of heritage properties to judge their worthiness for protection. This may not go well for a number of Devonport streets, which could be slated for multi-storey developments. It’s time to remove any doubt in the council that an assault on heritage will not be tolerated.
Auckland Council has the ability to fight the government edict and front up for heritage, with a series of protections safeguarding our built history.
In the 60s, Ngataringa Bay was sold by then Devonport Borough Council to a developer. Determined action by residents saw the sale quashed. People do have power to make change. Rob Drent, Editor
Call and email the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and North Shore Councillors Richard Hills and Chris Darby with your views. Send your letters to the Flagstaff: firstname.lastname@example.org
Intensification push threatens local heritage protection
A major review of Devonport’s heritage houses will be conducted as part of a government directive to intensify inner-city living.
And some parts of the suburb are not expected to measure up to being worthy of protection. Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan, introduced in 2013, opened up many areas of the city for intensification, but this has not been enough for the government.
Its National Policy Statement on Urban Development instructs councils in major cities to go further. It seeks an increase in intensive development in the city centre, and close to metropolitan centres and major rail and bus stations.
The government has also instructed Auckland Council to review areas with ‘Special Character’ overlays – parts of inner-city suburbs such as Herne Bay, Ponsonby and Grey Lynn, as well as Devonport.
The Special Character areas are being surveyed to determine whether they are “high, medium or low”.
Each property in these areas will be given a score of between one and six based on: relationship to the street, period of development, typology, architectural style and the level of physical integrity.
The government has made it clear streets with only a high level of heritage values should be protected.
It says where Special Character values are overall of medium or low quality, building heights of six storeys or more should be “enabled”.
Likewise, business sites in Special Character areas should be able to have heights of six storeys or more in a “manner which retains special-character values”.
City-side suburbs were being surveyed first, with Devonport in the “second tranche”, North Shore councillor and Auckland Council Planning Committee chair Chris Darby said.
Council officers, and Darby himself at a Planning Committee meeting earlier his month, made it plain they were not in favour of “pepper potting”, for example allowing buildings of six storeys or more next to heritage homes.
“That is not good planning,” Darby told the Flagstaff.
While the survey results were some way off, Darby was confident “we won’t be seeing six storey buildings in Devonport (residential streets).”
Although some areas – such as parts of Vaux- hall Rd, which had many old homes replaced by sausage-block flats in the 1970s – would not hold up to close heritage scrutiny, Darby said. Other parts of Devonport were exempt from the Special Character overlay.
Owners of the large Spencer property at Stanley Point had successfully appealed against the zoning in the Auckland Unitary Plan hearings.
Darby and others at the planning meeting seemed to view the government push for more intensification as unnecessary, as growth was allowed for in the unitary plan.
Officers told Planning Committee members that “tough political decisions” would need to be made around heritage to fulfill the government’s intensification directive.
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