Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Sale of historic cottage demolition material on hold

The Historic Places Trust wants a record made of any historic finds at 18 Paget St.
Photo / Dean Purcell
The Historic Places Trust wants a record made of any historic finds at 18 Paget St. Photo / Dean Purcell

Kauri floorboards and other original materials from the 130-year-old cottage in Freemans Bay at the centre of a heritage uproar have been withdrawn from sale on Trade Me.

Rudi Gabo, of Gabo Demolition in South Auckland, yesterday withdrew the items from sale after Herald inquiries.

The sale of building materials comes as the Historic Places Trust gets involved in the case by ensuring a record is made of any historic finds on the site at 18 Paget St.

The trust has written to the owner of the cottage, Wynnis Armour, to say that as a pre-1900 site with the likelihood of a property having been on it since the 1880s it was classed as an archeological site.

A trust spokeswoman said Ms Armour would have to hire an archaeologist to oversee work and report any historic finds.

Ms Armour, a Herne Bay businesswoman, has not responded to inquiries from the Herald about her plans for the cottage, which is on a large section with panoramic views of the city skyline. She bought the property in 2010 for $2 million.

Under two Trade Me listings featuring a picture of the cottage at 18 Paget St, Mr Gabo was offering 150mm wide kauri floorboards at a starting price of $21 a metre and a single brick at a "buy now" price of $1.

French doors, sash windows, timber, joists to be machined into tongue and groove flooring were also available from the the "upcoming dismantling job".

There were no bids on the materials before the listings were withdrawn.

Mr Gabo initially denied the materials were for sale on the site, but then said they should not have been listed because the dismantling job was on hold pending an Auckland Council peer review of the case.

He said his company was in discussions with Ms Armour through a third party to dismantle the property.

"We are just waiting until we get the clearance to go ahead with it," Mr Gabo said.

Top council officials have been forced to review the case after it was revealed that consultant planner Brooke Dales was given the case at the eleventh hour.

Mr Dales replaced a council planner, Jonathan Blackmore, who had been working on the application for five months and supported the view of the council's conservation architect that the application should be declined.

Mr Dales was the same planner who approved the removal of seven houses, including three Spanish mission-style properties, in St Heliers last year.

- NZ Herald

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