18 Jan 2011

Art deco houses to be torn down 'within weeks'

3:12 pm on 18 January 2011

A developer says three art deco buildings in the Auckland suburb of St Heliers will be demolished to make way for retail and office space within the next few weeks.

Discussions between Auckland mayor Len Brown and the developer have failed to find a way to save the 1930s buildings on Turua Street.

Opponents say will ruin the character of the seaside village, but the development company, Ancona, says the building have no heritage value and the foundations are unstable and would be costly to repair.

Managing director Mike Markham says the development will bring much-needed facilities to the area, where there is a lack of space for commercial development, and will provide a wider range of retail services and more room for medical services.

Mr Markham says he will be speaking with contractors, and hopes the demolition can resume in a few weeks' time.

Pledge to strengthen historic building protection

Mayor Len Brown says he is determined to strengthen protections for historic buildings in Auckland.

Mr Brown says the district scheme, part of the Auckland Plan which is in development, will usher in a new set of rules to govern competing interests.

He says he wants the rules to provide much stronger protections for historic and character buildings.

But the Art Deco Society's preservation chair, Dorothy McHattie, says Auckland City's district plan already had very good protections.

Ms McHattie says what has been missing has been a lack of political will to put them into practice.