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.
“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.”