Balmoral, Sandringham Added To Council Watch List


Good to see Auckland City, at its council meeting tonight, will thankfully add the old townships of Balmoral and Sandringham to the list of areas needing preservation.

You only have to look around any part of the inner city to see the appalling vandalism that has been done to historic parts – and how the interesting buildings that give a place character get altered beyond recognition or have been allowed to be demolished.

The council had already identified the town centres of Eden Valley (Dominion Rd),Ellerslie, Grey Lynn (Surrey Cres) , Kingsland, Upper Symonds Street and West Lynn(Richmond Rd) for its list of village centres where developers need to be careful when planning anything to change the character of some of the interesting old buildings or public spaces there.

Balmoral's old movie theatre, is back being a cinema

The way the council words it is that the centres have a “unity arising from buildings with similar scale, materials and rhythm.”

Often there is a “cohensiveness and quality of character that taken collectively is far greater than the architectural merit of any of the individual facades and in some cases, variety is the dominant characteristic.

“The external appearance of these buildings is an aesthetic element that can contribute greatly to environmental quality, amenity values and character of urban streetscapes.”

Indeed. These are clusters of buildings dating back nearly a hundred years. Think how awful it would be for some developer to knock down the buildings and replace it with some appallingly inappropriate building of the type seen all over Auckland in recent years (where do we start to name them!)

Sandringham's Warings Corner dates back to 1915

In Sandringham village, the first known building was in 1915 but most of the buildings are from 1920 to 1930.

The electric tram service along Sandringham Rd was not achieved until 1925 because the rail overbridge had to be built on the corner of Sandringham and New North Rd.

Many of the early buildings are intact including groups of one and two storeyed 1920s-1940s buildings. These days the shops reflect a strong immigrant neighbourhood including Halal butchers and Asian foodstores.

In Balmoral, the village reflects the fact Dominion and Balmoral Rds were identified early as major arterials and provision was made at an early stage for road widening and parking requirements.

Development from the 1960s is more varied but the council report notes that recent development with buildings set back from the street edge and car parking in front is detrimental to the pedestrian environment and at odds with the traditional pattern of built development in Balmoral”.

This block near the Balmoral Rd corner is almost 100 years old

Anything to preserve the look of these villages is most welcomed and those in the council responsible should be thanked.




  1. Chris says:

    You can thank Glenda Fryer for this. If it wasn’t for her constantly pushing this issue it would never have happened.


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