Auckland councillors are appealing to the owner of a 130-year-old cottage in Freemans Bay to save it from the wrecker's ball.
Herne Bay businesswoman Wynnis Armour was granted consent in December to demolish the small house on a large section at 18 Paget St, sparking public uproar and questions about council planners' commitment to heritage.
Councillors on the parks and heritage forum yesterday requested that chief executive Doug McKay approach Ms Armour to find ways of meeting her plans for the property while keeping the cottage.
This followed a petition from two residents at 9 Paget St, Anna Corrie-Thomson and Mike Brookfield, opposing the demolition. Residents from six of the 21 homes in the street signed the petition, which, they said, was circulated when many residents were still on holiday.
Mr Brookfield said it was not right for someone to destroy a house in restorable condition and replace it with a new house that looked old.
"People should care more about their history," Mr Brookfield said.
Ms Armour has yet to submit plans for a replacement property and yesterday declined to comment.
A council spokesman said any talks with the owner would be confidential.
Revelations that the case was taken off a council planner who wanted to decline the application and given to a consultant planner who sealed its fate was a sore point at the forum.
Councillor Mike Lee said the case was hurtful because it went through non-notified and because the council planner who wanted to decline the application, Jonathan Blackmore, supported by council conservation architect Stephen Curham, was overruled. "But at least the building is still there and it behoves us to do everything we can to talk to the owner."