Proposed plan revokes blanket controls on pre-1944 houses and leaves entire suburbs open to demolition

Thousands of homes across Auckland have been stripped of heritage protection, according to new maps presented to councillors at a confidential briefing on Friday.

Entire suburbs, including Mission Bay, Kohimarama, St Heliers, Takapuna, Milford and Belmont, have virtually no heritage protection, leaving them open for demolition.

Other suburbs, notably Grey Lynn, have had their historic character areas increased. Parts of Westmere have been recognised for their collective value of bungalows.

The maps also highlight anomalies. Several streets of villas in Mt Eden and Balmoral - Grange and Fairview Rds and Marsden Ave - are only partially protected.

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Several blocks of Art Deco apartments on Jervois Rd in Herne Bay have missed out on protection.

Councillors and Local Board chairs were given a copy of the maps on Friday and five days to provide feedback at a confidential session of the Unitary Plan committee on Wednesday. The maps will be finalised and approved at Wednesday's meeting.

The elected representatives have been forbidden from sharing the information with Aucklanders, whose homes and neighbourhoods could be affected.

Once the committee has made changes behind closed doors, the maps will be forwarded to the independent hearings panel for the Unitary Plan and made public.

Only submitters to the pre-1944 heritage rules in the proposed plan are allowed to give feedback.

The city's growth and housing shortage is putting pressure on the council to relax heritage and density controls in the Unitary Plan, with the independent hearings panel not convinced controls on pre-1944 houses were justified.

After applying a blanket demolition control across the city's pre-1944 houses, teams of council staff and contractors have assessed every house covered by the rules in the proposed plan.

The new maps are the result of 18 months of work, and will be part of mediation and formal hearings before the panel.

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Last night, deputy mayor Penny Hulse said she was not prepared to comment and weaken the council's case on a legally privileged and important process like the heritage of Auckland.

She was appalled that some people did not respect the process by leaking confidential information.

Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers, writing for Ponsonby News, applauded the council for sticking to its guns on the pre-1944 demolition controls and the term "historic character".

The panel has suggested the lesser legal term "special character".

Mr Chambers wrote that elected representatives had only days to discuss changes to the maps behind closed doors with no sessions with staff to review detail.

"This is all less than satisfactory, and not the way to get the best outcome for Auckland," he said.

Character Coalition spokeswoman Sally Hughes said she had not seen the maps, but was aware there would be some reduction in heritage protection.

She said the loss of controls would allow people to demolish homes and there would be a loss of character in suburbs.

"Aucklanders are in for a big shock and will be outraged this is happening, a lot of it behind closed doors. Council hasn't shown a great deal of steel in their spine about preserving buildings like Erawan [a villa in Herne Bay]," said Ms Hughes, whose group is made up of 60 heritage and community groups.

How your suburb is affected - from A to Z

Arch Hill/Kingsland/Eden Tce

Existing historic character areas intact. In Kingsland, Fourth Ave fronting the motorway misses out as does most of the area off New North Rd in Eden Tce.

Balmoral

Like Mt Eden. Several anomalies, such as parts of Marsden Ave, Peary Rd and Shackleton Rd missing out.

Beach Haven/Birkdale

No protection to speak of.

Birkenhead

Existing historic character area picks up more properties in Maritime Tce. Onewa Rd, Mokoia Rd and Birkenhead Ave miss out.

Devonport

Existing historic character area intact. Additions in Vauxhall Rd and around Aramoana Rd.

Ellerslie

About half earlier proposed additions have made the cut, mostly in Amy, Ballin and Arron Sts.

Epsom

Historic character areas intact, but east of Gillies Ave around Owens Rd and around The Drive near Greenlane miss out.

Grafton

Existing historic character areas intact. Additions in Grafton Rd, Park Ave.

Grey Lynn

Existing historic character areas intact with additions on the western edge, including Dryden, Selbourne, Sackville Sts, Sherwood Ave, Stanmore Rd. Sefton Ave ridge misses out.

Hauraki/Belmont

Virtually no protection.

Helensville

Existing heritage areas largely intact, but virtually no new areas.

Hobsonville

Air Force accommodation and significant officers' mess gone.

Leigh

No protection, except for a block in Cumberland St.

Milford/Takapuna

Virtually no protection.

Mt Albert

The Golden Triangle retains protection. Other areas added, others miss out.

Mt Eden

Most streets near the village are in. Some glaring anomalies such as parts of Grange Rd and Valley Rd. Fairview Rd, Kingsview Rd and Dexter Ave out.

Newmarket

Historic character area off Seccombes Rd added to.

Newton

Existing historic character areas intact but streets around Basque Park miss out.

Northcote

Existing historic character area intact.

One Tree Hill

Some properties on Wheturangi Rd and around Konini Rd have been added to historic character areas, but large areas off Campbell Rd and Rawhiti Rd have no protection.

Onehunga

Several areas, mostly around Grey and Arthur Sts, added.

Orakei/Kohimarama/Mission Bay/St Heliers/Glendowie

Few pockets of existing historic character, but virtually no protection.

Otahuhu/Mangere Bridge/Mangere/Papatoetoe

Some additions, but far fewer than earlier proposed.

Parnell

Existing historic character areas intact with some additions in St Georges Bay Rd and around Birdwood Cres and Gibraltar Cres.

Ponsonby/Freemans Bay

Existing historic characters areas intact with some additions on Ponsonby Rd.

Pt Chevalier

Most protection south of Meola Rd.

Puhoi

Loses about half its special character areas.

Pukekohe

Protection along King St and a block in Queen St/Wesley St. Other areas miss out.

Remuera

A mixed bag of existing historic character areas, new areas and excluded areas.

Royal Oak

Few new areas.

Sandringham/Morningside

Some areas in, but mostly out.

St Marys Bay/Herne Bay

Existing historic character area intact. Additions in Lawrence St, Curran St. Some properties added to Jervois Rd, others miss out.

Warkworth

A number of listed historic heritage places and individual properties but very patchy.

Waterview

No protection, except for two properties.

Wellsford

Virtually no protection.

Westmere/Coxs Bay

Best bits, such as Nottingham and Dorset Sts, Cumberland, Chester and Warwick Aves, in. Streets further north with sea views left out. Coxs Bay mostly left out.

Whangaparaoa/Stillwater

Virtually no protection.