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Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Heritage homes avoid demolition

Grande dame of former air force base saved.

Mark Fraser of Hobsonville Land Company in front of Mill House. Photo / Greg Bowker
Mark Fraser of Hobsonville Land Company in front of Mill House. Photo / Greg Bowker

A squadron of veterans from a military past will stand proud among the thousands of new homes in the $2 billion development project at Hobsonville.

The heritage value of 15 homes - some grand and some modest - rates highly in plans for a staged development of the former Royal New Zealand Air Force base for nearly 3000 new homes and two schools.

One of those spared demolition to give a clear building envelope, is the grande dame of the base, Mill House.

For decades, its twin gables have been the backdrop for wedding photos and it has been coveted by defence top brass as a residence. The property is included in a 7ha chunk of housing land released for sale by crown-owned entity Hobsonville Land Company.

Bayleys real estate salesperson Michael Pleciak said the gracious two-storey home overlooking the Upper Waitemata Harbour was for sale on a separate freehold title to the other four parcels in the Buckley A precinct release.

The 512sq m house on a 3600sq m garden site had heritage protection, because it was built for pioneer aviator Doug Mill to a George Tole design.

Mr Mill ran his air survey and transport firm at Hobsonville from 1927 and sold it to Defence during World War II.

Mr Pleciak said the house had to stay but could become a grand homestead or boutique hotel or conference centre.

Heritage architect Dave Pearson recommended it be preserved in its present location. It was rated Heritage Category 2 in the Auckland District Plan and its significant elements were gabled roof forms, white-painted windows and dark-stained weatherboards.

Bayleys declined to specify the value of the house, which remained in Defence hands after the base closed in 2002.

Hobsonville Land Company's Mark Fraser also said the much-admired but disused home of successive base commanders would be preserved. It is planned that the house will be removed from its present location overlooking Harrier Pt, to a site across the road from the Catalina Cafe to be in the company of 10 English-style 1930s homes in Sunderland Ave.

Mill House

*Mill House is included in a 7ha chunk of housing land released for sale
*The 512sq m house on a 3600sq m garden site has heritage protection
*It was built in 1930 for pioneer aviator Doug Mill to a George Tole design.
*It is part of staged development of the former Royal New Zealand Air Force base for nearly 3000 new homes and two schools.

- NZ Herald

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