The Auckland Council is being urged to follow the footsteps of another Super City - Brisbane - and publicly notify all applications to demolish old houses in character areas.
The message has come from the new Character Coalition, an Auckland-wide coalition of 18 heritage and resident groups frustrated at the lack of community input in the current decision-making process.
"We have watched with despair as precious buildings and areas have been destroyed to make way for often inappropriate new developments," spokeswoman Sally Hughes told the Auckland Plan committee yesterday. "Brisbane experienced in the 1990s the same problems as Auckland - rising population and land values driving destruction - and adopted mechanisms to halt continuing heritage loss."
The coalition is calling for four mechanisms to be included in a new unitary plan, which will replace the district plans and regional policies of the eight former councils.
The mechanisms are community-driven local plans; demolition control precincts, including public notification for demolition and a design code for new buildings; a building code for the city's commercial built history; and a heritage code with incentives to foster retention.
Auckland Plan committee chairwoman and deputy mayor Penny Hulse has promised wide-ranging discussion with Aucklanders to produce a high-quality, workable and robust unitary plan.