East and Bays Courier : August 31st 2012
www.eastandbayscourier.co.nz 3 EAST & BAYS COURIER, AUGUST 31, 2012 NEWS Heritage house under threat By KARINA ABADIA Shared concern: Parnell Heritage deputy chairwoman Julie Hill and councillor Mike Lee are worried that a historic cottage in Parnell could be demolished. Photo: KARINA ABADIA THE oldest suburb in Auck- land could lose another part of its residential heritage. Residents, community groups and members of Wai- temata Local Board are con- cerned about an application before the council to demol- ish a historic cottage in Lee St, Parnell. Parnell Heritage deputy chairwoman Julie Hill says the democratic process of notification hasn't been fol- lowed. As an interested party we are concerned that we wer- en't consulted. It is only through notification and community response that the council will be able to prop- erly exercise its judgment in relation to the level of public interest in the building and the impact demolition would have on the community.'' The owner has told Ms Hill the house needs replac- ing because it is thoroughly rotten and that she has had a council architect look at it who says it isn't of any value. But if this house goes, what sort of precedent will that set for the rest of the street? They are like a little row of houses that reflect their origins. The minute you pull it down and in goes a more contemporary looking place, you lose that.'' Councillor Mike Lee agrees. It's right that people should be able to have their say. The council is only look- ing after the owner and not the community, it's unbal- anced. It may be decided that the outside of the cottage has architectural or historical merit but that the owner can modernise the interior. Lee St is such a pictur- esque quaint street. That's why I've created a huge fuss. Hopefully we can slow down the process. I object to people in Lee St being told nothing about the removal of a significant building right next door to them. It's totally wrong.'' Mr Lee says the council is in breach of its own special circumstances' criteria. Section 95A of the Resource Management Act sets the framework for whether the council should publicly notify applications for resource consent. If special circumstances are accepted in relation to an application, the council may publicly notify it, even if there is a rule or national environmental standard which denies this need. Mr Lee says special cir- cumstances apply to this house because it is zoned residential one. It is also a pre-1940 dwelling and the entire street is made up of authentic 19th century houses. This means the destruc- tion of this cottage and its replacement with a modern building will compromise the aesthetic integrity of the whole street.'' The technical reason why residents could be notified is that the new building has height and boundary issues, but consultation on these grounds is discretionary, he says. But even more import- antly, surely the council should have the decency to tell ratepayers what's going on in their neighbourhood.'' Auckland Council spokes- man Glyn Walters says the council has received a resource consent application for the demolition of the cot- tage and development of a new dwelling but has not made any decision on that application. Local boards are informed about applications to remove pre-1940s buildings in resi- dential one and two zones early on in the process and have the opportunity to express opinions on planning proposals before a decision is made, he says. Parnell community com- mittee chairman Roger Cole- Baker says he'd like resi- dents to be told what the owner intends to do with the site. What replaces it doesn't need to be a replica but it's got to be something that is in keeping with the rest of the street.'' Mr Walters says Auck- land's land use regulations are under review and changes will be published in the new Unitary Plan. Public engagement starts in September through local boards and the first draft of the plan will be released for public comment in March. If Aucklanders want the planning regulations changed, they should get involved in the Unitary Plan process,'' he says. Shaping choir's beautiful sound Julian Raphael QUICK FACTS What: Shape-note Singshop with Julian Raphael When: September 1, 10am to 4pm Where: Auckland Unitarian Church, 1 Ponsonby Rd How: Bookings essential. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone or text 027 222 9049. Go to eastandbays courier.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to see a video of shape-note singing. Anyone who loves to sing is in for a rare treat at Ponson- by's Unitarian Church on September 1. The historic church on Ponsonby Rd will ring with the four-part harmonies of shape-note songs. Julian Raphael is musi- cian, teacher and leader of the Wellington Community Choir and is offering a rare chance for people to come along and learn this distinc- tive style of community sing- ing. Mr Raphael says the Unit- arian Church has beautiful woodwork and good acous- tics, making it an ideal set- ting for a day of joyous sing- ing. Shape-note singing schools began in the United States in the early 1700s. A system of shapes repres- ents musical notes based on the syllables FA, SO, LA and MI. This made sight-reading easier as people gathered for their congregational and community singing prac- tices. Some American com- posers are writing in this style today, producing won- derfully heart-warming and vibrant songs,'' he says. Mr Raphael is a passion- ate advocate of shape-note music and has worked along- side one of the great author- ities of the style, Larry Gor- don from Northern Harmony, US. This non-denominational singshop' offers a rare sing- ing experience for all those who love to sing with others and are not afraid of some basic sight reading.''
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