Property editor of the NZ Herald

Herne Bay villa demolition non-notification mooted

The early 1900s house at 111 Jervois Rd in Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Oxenham
The early 1900s house at 111 Jervois Rd in Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Demolition of a pre-1944 Herne Bay villa will not be notified, despite concerns and controls protecting old houses.

An non-notified application has gone to Auckland Council to demolish the stately old house, built around 1912 at 111 Jervois Rd.

Vernon Tava, Waitemata Local Board member, sought information, wanting any demolition application notified so people could make their views known and objections were possible.

He said non-notification was not the right way to proceed.

"This is death by a thousand cuts," he said of the loss of Herne Bay houses. "We're seeing the gradual unraveling of Auckland's inner-city heritage."

"This is a character-defining building and there is significant public interest in its removal. The local board asks for public notification," Tava told an Auckland Council planner and his fellow board members.

Planner Thomas Faherty said notification was indeed being considered. "I will take this into account within my reporting," Faherty told Tava.

But it wasn't to be.

Subsequently, Faherty said: "We have elected to recommend non-notification of this application".

Noel Reardon, the council's heritage manager, cited a formal assessment of the weatherboard house with its classic verandah, ornate woodwork and pitched gable roofs.

"It is therefore considered that the villa at 111 Jervois Road does not possess significant historic heritage values as an individual dwelling, but that it is a contributor to a small, existing character streetscape. Its contribution has been reduced by prior changes. The proposed demolition of the subject dwelling will result in some adverse heritage effects on the wider streetscape character, but these adverse effects will be less than if the building was strong contributor to a wider and more intact streetscape as identified elsewhere during the pre-1944 survey," the council's assessment said.

Reardon said it was now up to the council's consents team to make the final decision about notification.

He is unsure if the assessment will be for or against notification.

David and Jocelyn Weatherall applied to remove the villa, once owned by police superintendent Alfred Mitchell, who played a role in union unrest in the early 1900s.

Through the Kamari Trust, the Weatheralls have plans for a new building on the site, according to an application made on their behalf by planner David Wren.

A few months ago, another 1905 villa was removed from Jervois Rd. The Erawan Thai restaurant operated in the house for more than 20 years, but in 2012, owner Jessica Woo got approval from Auckland Council to remove or demolish it.

- NZ Herald

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