Heritage has day in court

Hobsonville's quaintly named Limeburners Bay doesn't look all that much like an archaeological site, but that's what it is. Holly Reid looks at the legal wrangle that's blown up over development at the bay
Digging at Limeburners Bay has landed a Parnell developer in deep water.
Waitakere City Council is prosecuting Hobsonville Residential Developments and the company's contractors, Treecare Services, for allegedly clearing vegetation without resource consent and carrying out earthworks in the archaeological site.
The matter will be dealt with at the Auckland District Court and presided over by an Environment Court judge, but has not yet been set down by the court, says council lawyer Setareh Masoud-Ansari.
Limeburners Bay, the birthplace of ceramics in Waitakere, is regarded as a significant cultural heritage site for the Auckland region.
The shore of the bay contains remnants of kilns, claypits and bricks from three historic brickworks dating from as far back as 1860, including the remains of an early pottery business connected to Crown Lynn ceramics.
The company in question bought 8.5ha in the area last year and wants to subdivide a block in Bannings Way.
Residents first raised the alarm that part of the bay's 2km archaeological stretch had been damaged late last year and the council issued a stop-work notice.
A council-appointed archaeologist confirmed damage had occurred at Bannings Way, but all details of it remain confidential before the court hearing.
Part of the company's application to subdivide involves work to remedy the alleged damage, says Setareh.
``The New Zealand Historic Places Trust are in support of the council's position so far and will be involved with remedial work.''
A report from the council's principal heritage adviser, Alina Wimmer, notes that the company may not be to blame for all the damage.
``It is unknown how much other damage the previous owners caused when they obtained authority from the Historic Places Trust to modify this site.''
Director Wayne Douglas says the company hasn't been served a notice yet and will continue trying to resolve the matter with the council.

- The Aucklander

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