More Heritage Woes For Devonport

Posted by on Oct 04, 2011 | 14 Comments

The new council’s proclamations of valuing and protecting Auckland heritage – and particularly Devonport’s – are under severe strain, as a second important site in Devonport is scheduled for change, with no apparent process in place that reflects the council’s stated strategy of celebrating Auckland’s heritage.

In addition to what is likely to be the highly controversial sale of part of Mt Victoria, Devonport Heritage’s Claudia Page is concerned about planning decisions being made around the redevelopment at St Leo’s Primary School.

The application is complex – removal of a 1931 freestanding classroom, demolition of the architect designed convent dating from 1958 and building a new admin block and separate classroom. Also in this stage are construction of a staff carpark and relocating the adventure playground to the site presently occupied by the convent.

Page said ” I have seen the AEE, two versions of the plans and a recently submitted site and context analysis. I have to say that in my opinion all of these are of an exceptionally low standard. The plans have been drafted by a company called Econobuilt whose main business is barns and low cost shopping centres.”

Page’s concerns are exacerbated by the fact that the  council commissioner has recommended limited notification to only one neighbour.

Table_08 2011-10-03

“This is a major site at the gateway to Devonport and in my view will go against all the principles espoused in the Auckland Plan – , placemaking, high quality design, best practice urban design, protection of significant heritage etc. The district plan has strict criteria for sites that are viewed from public viewpoints. This is a classic example, as it is so visible from the adjacent Mt Victoria and from Albert and Victoria Roads.”


  1. Jane Watson says:

    I don’t beleive anyone from Devonport Heritage has come out and said that the convent has to be saved? They would be interested in the design of any new buildings and whether they meet the standard for such a visible site. This has to be looked at in the context of the historic churches over the road as well as the other buildings nearby which are governed by heritage rules. As well as this the original 1890s building , would be of interest to anyone with an interst in local history. This building was the original school, curtained off in the middle to separte fee payers from non fee payers. The little slate roofed hall should be restored and considered as part of the mix. Surely it is more sustainable in this day and age to at least consider re-use for the architect designed convent,classroom and hall?

  2. commonsense prevails says:

    come on, lets get real! The convenient is a 1950s visual abomination; it adds nothing to the aesthetic value of the street. the children of St leos are entilted to a library that is not a fungal tsunami and health hazard. whilst the heritage societys good works are noted barking up the wrong tree like this has implications for its long term effectiveness in our community.

  3. IGC says:

    One more comment – please don’t confuse the Church (that Harcourts are selling) with the St Leo’s School Convent. They are completely separate and unrelated issues.

  4. IGC says:

    The 1958 Convent is frankly quite an awful building. Have a look next time you walk by the school. It’s full of mould and damp and as far as I’m aware, not able to be used by the school.. The teachers and children at St Leo’s need new and long overdue facilities.

  5. beetle says:

    I am a St Leo’s parent and find it so frustrating that the children get left out of this debate. Our lovely little school gets excellent outcomes for the children but desperately needs new facilities. Past Boards of Trustees have battled long and hard to get the Catholic Schools Office to spend money. Finally this is about to happen – meaning our children will have a wonderful new library, better playground space and a new classroom that is not a damp, mouldy fire risk. To think it could fall at the last hurdle does not bear thinking about. I for one support the proposed new buildings which I think are going to look pretty darn good. Not only that it is the best thing for our kids – our future.

  6. RS says:

    Is heritage seriously suggesting that the currently derelict convent should be retained? Surely it will be much better for the community to have a smart new building with tidy fencing at the entrance to our village. I had heard that the new building proposed would be quite nice.

  7. al says:

    Just saw the report on One News. Harcourts must be absolutely joking … how can they think the Church can sell an established Graveyard ?

  8. lulu says:

    I hear our very own heritage architect Jeremy Salmond submitted a plan to St Leo’s for redesigning the 1958 convent which was subsequently rejected by them in favour of the new teaching block . It’s a shame when our buildings, especially our architecturally designed buildings, are knocked down and replaced by yet more ordinary non noteworthy structures. Here we go again.

  9. Fred says:

    Sorry Wensum. I think you have the wrong end of the stick. Protecting heritage does not mean being anti development. It’s all about good quality re-development as opposed to cheap nasty development.

  10. GB says:

    Whats going on??..the Vic, which thank god is saved..the Masonic, our Devo cemetery?..St Leos??..whats next I ask myself!.

  11. col says:

    Another example of cheap gain over building something to be proud of, imagination in architectural design does not have to be expensive. Come on Auckland Council wake up.

  12. wensum says:

    Whilst I have some respect for the self appointed heritage group, I believe they sometimes go too far in their efforts to protect Devonport’s heritage.
    Presumably none of their children attend St leo’s Primary School?
    I understand the sole nighbour required to be consulted in the Limited notification has recently purchased the property and called in the heritage group to support his angst against the proposed changes.
    It is surprising that schools are included in the residential heritage zoning and commercial buildings (unless listed) are not.
    In this case I believe the education of young children is more important than a cold old classroom of little historic merit?

  13. Gladys says:

    ….talk about money changers in the temple… didn’t Jesus chase them out? Who will get the money from this sale?I would wager it won’t be the congregation that supported the church for generations!

  14. Mo says:

    “the council commissioner has recommended limited notification to only one neighbour.” Who are these commissioners? Are they qualified? Sometimes it makes you wonder?

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