The appeal of St Heliers Bay centre as a seaside village is unique to Auckland; its low- key approach to commercial activity, its intimate, small scale, its position right on the sea front and its outstanding harbour views make it an area of immense value to the local community and the greater Auckland area.
Recent developments in the St Heliers’ town centre have highlighted to the community that the current planning processes do not protect the village from large-scale commercial developments that are inappropriate for St Heliers.
SOS was formed in the wake of the demolition of the eastern side of Turua Street and its planned replacement with a three storey commercial centre.
This coupled with the loss of two character buildings on the corner of Tamaki Drive and Maheke Street to make way for a totally inappropriate development, have left residents with no confidence in the ability of the current legal framework or commitment of Council and its officials to enforce the rules.
These monumental failures to protect the Village have clearly demonstrated how the current process has been misused to benefit developers at the expense of residents, allowing their demands to override both Council policy and the wishes of the people who live there.
The aim of SOS is to protect St Heliers’ heritage and character by the formation of a strong an effective community organisation dedicated to preserving the seaside village that makes St Heliers great to live in and visit.
To have a positive effect on development in St Heliers, SOS will work to influence the way new building is carried out overall, to establish an environment where property development respects and works around heritage buildings and preserves the character of the village.
Save Our St Heliers was formed as a result of the demolition of the eastern side of Turua Street in January 2011. In the process St Heliers lost a record of the last hundred years of its history.
The photograph shows Numbers 8 to 12 Turua Street.These three 1935 Spanish Mission houses were designed by William Jaine who also designed Takapuna Grammar and the Auckland Grammar library.