16 Dec 2010

Demolition of art deco houses suspended

7:12 pm on 16 December 2010

The demolition of two art deco houses in the Auckland suburb of St Heliers has been suspended following a meeting with mayor Len Brown and developers.

The two houses on Turua Street are the first of three buildings being removed to make way for a retail centre, in a move opponents say will ruin the character of the village.

On Thursday, the Auckland Council voted 14-7 against imposing a heritage protection order, which could have saved the buildings.

Councillors had been advised that intervening at this point could cost millions of dollars, probably lead to the council buying the houses, and cost even more if the matter went on to the Environment Court.

After the meeting, Mr Brown met with developers whom he says have agreed to suspend demolition while the council investigate other options of saving the buildings.

Protesters have been at the site since Wednesday, and 200 people attended a public meeting on Sunday to oppose the demolition.

Workers have already removed floors and parts of the interior of the two art deco houses.