A 130-year-old colonial house is awaiting a new life - but its new owners have yet to determine how best to use the heritage-listed building.
Stoneycroft, a two-storey house on Omahu Street, Hastings, has been the topic of debate since the Hastings District Council bought it a couple of years ago as a park reserve to be part of the Lyndhurst residential development.
The council has yet to signal what it intends to use the heritage-listed house for - there are suggestions it could be used as a museum, a multi-use conference centre, an accommodation house. or a combination of all three.
But before that the council has to spend time and money repairing the building, including investigating its structural soundness, a roof and stormwater inspection, as well as foundation, electrical and plumbing works.
The council's Landmarks section, which deals with urban-design issues, as well as public art, landscape, history and architecture, is lobbying the New Zealand Historic Places Trust for funding to install a fire detection and sprinkler system. The budget estimate for the system is $90,000 to $100,000.
In total for the 2006/07 financial year, the council will spend $100,000 on repairs to Stoneycroft and last week it was asked to consider allocating a further $15,000 to works on the building, as part of the draft long-term council community plan.
Stoneycroft has had five owners since it was built in 1875. Dr Diamond Allan Ballantyne and his wife, Sybil, were the last people to own and live in the home before the council bought it.
Dr Ballantyne died in 1984 and his wife in 2003. A covenant on the house was established between Mrs Ballantyne and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1995 - which binds future owners to not damage or alter the property or allow detrimental activity. Also, the historic place trust must approve any alterations or restoration work planned for the house.
Landmarks manager Colin Hosford said the council had been working out a plan for Stoneycroft with family relatives who set up a trust after the death of Mrs Ballantyne.
He said there some rooms could be modelled into an "interpretation museum" from the 1950s period, when the Ballantynes took hold of Stoneycroft.
"There could be a few rooms left set up as doctor's rooms, it will be a snapshot of the time Dr Ballantyne was working in the house," Mr Hosford said.
"We've also been working with museum staff from around Hawke's Bay to discuss how this can be done."
Mr Hosford said the other options of a function centre or accommodation house would also be investigated.