One of the oldest heritage buildings in Auckland's New Lynn is to be demolished tomorrow.
The St Andrews Sunday School Hall on Margan Ave, which borders the 2000-house West Edge development, is an Auckland Council Category B listed heritage building, meaning it has "considerable" significance to the area.
A group of residents had gathered at the entrance to the site on Tuesday afternoon to "mourn" the loss of yet another historic building in the area, which was undergoing rapid development to higher density housing, New Lynn Protection Society's Penny Laybourn said.
"The local community has been fighting for years to try and save the hall.
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"It holds so many memories amongst the older folk in the community, memories of dances, the Scottish Society and wedding receptions."
They only found out on Tuesday the building would be demolished the following day.
"It came as quite a shock."
The first brick was laid in 1929, by St Andrews Church minister Rev W P Rankin, who Laybourn said built the hall "virtually by himself".
The estimated 90,000 to 200,000 bricks used were donated by Gardner and Parker Brickworks, and the land was donated by the neighbouring Brick and Tile Company.
Laybourn said they were seeing a lot of brick buildings in the area demolished to make way for developments.
"I understand the need for greater density, but think it needs to be done in a more delicate way. This area has rich history through Crown Lynn, various brick works nearby, and buildings like this represent that heritage."
Auckland Council's regulatory compliance manager Steve Pearce said they received a referral from the public that the brick building was potentially dangerous and had deteriorated over several years.
After inspecting they issued a Dangerous Building Notice on March 27 this year, and the church had deteriorated since.
An independent engineering consultancy confirmed to the council the church was "immediately dangerous", and at risk of collapse and likely to cause injury or death to people.
As a result a permit had been issued to demolish the building, meaning no resource consent was required, Pearce said.
"All avenues were considered to save the church, but unfortunately the only option that is safe to both contractors and members of the public is demolition."
They were continuing their investigation and could not provide any further information, he said.
Laybourn said they'd worked with the council to develop a conservation plan for the building, which the owner could use to apply for funding from bodies like the Lotteries Commission.
"But he never agreed. We have done so much to try and save it, but it is quite clear what the intention is, with developments happening all around us.
"I just don't think it is right."
The Herald has sought comment from the current owner but has not received a reply.