Council explains why house could be legally flattened after a rule change

The now-demolished art deco Takapuna beachfront house was caught in a planning twilight zone, barred from being demolished when one man sold it but allowed to be bowled after another bought it.

Richard Beckett complained on Friday that the family home at 19 Brett Ave, sold by his trust for $6 million, had suddenly been flattened yet when he sold it, he thought it was protected.

Read: See before and after: shock at beachfront demolition

Beckett was upset and taken aback that new rules had allowed its demolition without even the need to apply for resource consent.

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What was left standing at 19 Brett Ave, Takapuna on Friday. Photo/Greg Bowker
What was left standing at 19 Brett Ave, Takapuna on Friday. Photo/Greg Bowker

Ian Dobson, Auckland Council northern resource consenting manager, confirmed that initially the house was protected, then it lost that with the city's new planning regime.

"The Auckland Council District Plan - Operative North Shore Section 2002 did not require resource consent for the demolition of the dwelling at 19 Brett Avenue," Dobson said.

"However, a demolition control, with immediate effect, was subsequently introduced when the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan was first notified on 30 September 2013, requiring consent for the demolition of all buildings - excluding accessory buildings - noted within the Pre-1944 overlay.

"When the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan Decisions Version was released on 19 August 2016, the property at 19 Brett Avenue was not included in the Special Character Areas Overlay and resource consent was no longer required for demolition of any of the buildings on the property," Dobson said.

Beckett said the trust sold the house last year when protection was in place.

"My concerns [is] that [it is] probably the most significant art deco house on the North Shore, built in the 1940's. Located in a prime waterfront location, this property is between Takapuna and Milford with unparalleled panoramic views," Beckett said last week.

"My family trust sold this property and it generated considerable international interest. We were advised by Bayleys that all but one potential buyer backed away as the council had clearly indicated it could not be demolished or increased in size due to its "historical significance," Beckett said.