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Victoria Road
Auckland, Auckland, 0624
New Zealand

Devonport Heritage 2017, an incorporated society formed in 2017, promotes heritage and sustainable development in Devonport.

north head from mt vic.jpg


Filtering by Tag: Devonport Business Association

Village views of maunga under threat

Spokesperson McRae

Historic view of Mt Victoria from the foot of the main street

Historic view of Mt Victoria from the foot of the main street

Auckland's Volcanic Cone issue is being re-opened by the Unitary Plan panel.  It has been proposed that building height in about half the Devonport business centre be raised to 13 metres. At present the shopping centre is covered by the Height Sensitive Area which allows only buildings to 9m. This has been in place for forty years but is now under threat.

The new map that has been pushed forward determinedly by the Devonport Business Association, allows for only the facade of the heritage buildings on the western side of Victoria Road to be kept at the present height , with taller buildings up to 13m to rise up right behind them.

We believe this is facadism of the worst kind and will ruin the heritage buildings and obscure views to Mt Victoria. The proposal will also allow for four storey buildings along the northern side of Fleet Street, throughout most of the the supermarket car-park, the east side of Wynyard Street and along a section of Clarence Street.

if these changes are approved they will result in the loss of views and also damage the relationship the village has with Mt Victoria. It could potentially ruin Devonport's identity and its sense of place.

Devonport Heritage Inc will be vigorously opposing this at the re-convened hearing on Viewshafts on May 4.

A link to our submission and further information can be found here

Previously 8m was the maximum for Victoria Road, under the current proposal it could go as high as 13m

Previously 8m was the maximum for Victoria Road, under the current proposal it could go as high as 13m

Victoria Road in 2016

Victoria Road in 2016

Additional height controls for Devonport village centre

Claudia Page

Devonport Heritage made a submission to the Unitary Plan hearing panel today regarding Additional Height Controls which have been proposed for the Devonport main street. Margot MacRae represented us, read the submission below:

Submission by Devonport Heritage on Topic 078 30/10/15

1. Our organisation has called for Devonport’s commercial centre to be removed from

the Town Centre zone.

The principle reason for this is that the underlying height control of 12.5 metres is

inappropriate to the historic village centre of Devonport.

We have submitted that the business centre be scheduled as an historic place and we are

backed up by Heritage New Zealand.

2. Devonport is unlike the other areas zoned as Town Centres.

If you go across to Devonport this weekend you’ll find two Clydesdale horses pulling a

12- seater cart around the main streets. It’s a hugely popular visitor attraction.

It holds up the traffic but nobody toots or yells at it. It’s just part of the life there and has

been going for 23 years.

Can you imagine this in Parnell or Takapuna, Grey Lynn or any other Town Centres?

3. A height limit of 12.5 for the main Devonport centre will invite intensive

development which will put all that makes Devonport special, at risk.

The principle objective of the zoning is – that the scale and intensity of town centres is

increased .

This is entirely wrong for Devonport’s centre which is widely recognised as a highly

intact, authentic heritage area.

• The western side of the Victoria Road looks today largely as it did in the 1880’s.

• Heritage NZ is scheduling the Victoria Road as an Historic Area.

• There are 21 scheduled heritage buildings in the lower Victoria Road.

4. Yet the Town Centre zoning with its 12/5 metre height limit carries with it the seeds

of destruction of Devonport’s low key heritage ambience.

The heritage buildings could be increased by two storeys and the non heritage sites will

be built to four storeys and this will diminish and overwhelm the historic quality of the

village. It will be death by a thousand cuts until the heritage becomes a sort of window

dressing. At present it has an authenticity and much of this is because of the scale of the


5. This height limit also clashes with the Height Sensitive Area for volcanic cones as

Victoria Road is entirely covered by the Mount Victoria HSA which is 8 metres.

It seems absurd to have two such contradictory zoning height controls.

6. Some Devonport commercial property owners support the 12.5 height.

The Devonport Business Association and one local property trust have submitted against

the HSA for Devonport as this will interfere with their proposals for increasing building


Their argument is that building to four storeys is the only way of growing the economic

viability of the centre. They say without this the village will die.

7. However when the Association’s submission to the panel was publicized in the local

paper the Flagstaff in July, it created a furore in Devonport. (see attached articles).

The local business owners were outraged they had not even been informed of the

submission made on their behalf and were very much opposed to it.

They argue that the main reason people come to visit Devonport is because it is a

beautiful seaside heritage village.

They recognise that increased height limits and adding storeys to heritage buildings

would put their businesses at risk by destroying the very attractions people come here to


8. The outrage from the business community became so strong that the owner of the

Bookmark bookshop carried out a survey of the local businesses.

This showed that two thirds of businesses did not support the Business Association’s

submission to Paup.

Many were in fact outraged that the submission had been made without proper

consultation with them.

Even the Flagstaff in its editorial called for the DBA to withdraw its submission on


So this is a hot topic in Devonport and rightly so.

9. Not only business owners but residents too love and value the low-key heritage nature

of the commercial area. It is not like other places in Auckland and it should not be classed

as a Town Centre which comes with an open invitation to build 3 to 4 storey buildings.

This is not appropriate for Devonport.

10. I remember when the Super City was being set-up there was a lot of reassuring

statements made that the new city and the Unitary Plan would recognise and value the

unique areas of the city.

We are asking you to honour those promises and give Devonport the recognition it

deserves and remove its zoning as a town centre.

Background to the height debate - DBA and Devonport Heritage views

Claudia Page

In mid 2013  David Barton from the DBA approached Devonport Heritage to talk about the Unitary Plan and the possibility of the two groups making a joint submission to the hearings.

Several things were discussed at these informal chats. Allowing increased heights and building up to 4 storeys was one such subject.

Devonport Heritage said we could not support increasing the height limits  because we believed this would harm the heritage ambience of Victoria Road and the business district.

However we did agree for the two groups to hold an evening in spring 2013 for invited people where both groups would do a power point presentation on our vision for the Devonport business area. 'But this was stopped in its tracks when shortly before the meeting  Devonport Heritage was told there was not to be a joint presentation. So our views were never heard

We have been very busy doing submissions on several topics for the Untiary Plan hearings and we did not become aware of the scope of the DBA submissions until just before the hearings on Viewshafts and Height Sensitive areas and also on Special/Historic Character and Pre-1944 overlays in June. Negotiating your way through the Unitary Plan website is extremely difficult and the DBA or the BID committee should have helped members and the community by posting their submission on the DBA website or emailing it to members.

This is what most organisations do in order to keep their members informed of their actions.

The DBA and the BID did not do this, which has resulted in member businesses only finding out about the submission made on their behalf when they saw it in the Flagstaff.This is either a terrible oversight or a deliberate attempt to keep the submission under the radar.


Whatever the reason, the DBA clearly does not have the mandate from its members for a submission that calls for the Volcanic cones height sensitive area to be removed from the Devonport business district so that buildings of 12.5 metres can be built as of right.


This submission was not circulated to business members nor to the residents of Devonport and clearly is not supported by most locals.

In view of such strong opposition the DBA should withdraw its submission to the Unitary Plan.

Takarunga / Mt Victoria anchors Victoria Road

Volcanic cones hearing news

Claudia Page

Today Margot McRae, Deputy Chair and spokesperson,  made a strong case for retention of the Height Sensitive Area overlay and Volcanic Cones view shafts which for many years have stopped buildings blocking the public's views of Mt Victoria/Takarunga and North Head/Maungauika. We are opposed to the Devonport Business Association and Wallace Flats Ltd one of the property owners, who were represented by Lane Associates Cherie Lane who have submitted that the height limit should be increased to allow up to four stories or 12.5m.

read our full text here

Alfred Sharpe's 1877 painting Devonport and the Waitemata Harbour from the Domain (Ref: C-126-001 Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington http://natlib.govt.records/22825399

Alfred Sharpe's 1877 painting Devonport and the Waitemata Harbour from the Domain (Ref: C-126-001 Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington http://natlib.govt.records/22825399