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Sale of much-loved South Auckland hall being finalised

The Ardmore Hall is the only council-owned facility in the area that people can hire for events. Photo: Supplied
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

By Torika Tokalau of Local Democracy Reporting

The sale of a much-loved Auckland community hall that residents donated to the council during World War II has been put on hold.

The Franklin Local Board decided to sell Ardmore Hall and the adjourning Bell Field in rural South Auckland, but plans to get it on the market are still being finalised.

Eke Panuku’s head of strategic property optimisation Letitia Edwards said there was still a considerable amount of work to be done.

Eke Panuku, Auckland Council’s development agency, needed to seek approval from the local board for the allocation of sale proceeds.

“Ardmore Hall is an endowment property, and the proceeds of sale must be used in accordance with the purpose of the endowment,” Edwards said.

“Ardmore Hall and Bell Field are both local service assets, and the proceeds can go back into the improvement of other local service projects.”

She said this, and other processes, had no time limit and would, “simply take as long as they need to”.

The hall, built in 1899 by locals and home to a war memorial, has been closed since a fire broke out in 2021 at the front part of the building.

Residents made several attempts to save it from sale, but these proved futile.

Resident Allan Bell in an earlier interview said they asked the local board to give it back to the community, but council said the community could buy it when it goes on the market.

“The hall was donated by the community and if [it’s] no longer wanted, it should be given back to the community, at no cost,” Bell said.

Bell, whose great-grandfather was among those who donated the land for the hall, said the building was given to council during the war when there were limited males left to maintain it.

He said the community later upgraded the hall on their own.

“Why should we pay for something twice when it was donated all along from the 1890s?”

Edwards said the local board wanted to allocate the proceeds of the hall and field sale to the improvement of Clevedon Hall.

The sites, currently zoned open space – sport and active recreation – would require a plan change to enable disposal, to a mixed rural zone.

“Once complete, a go-to-market strategy will be prepared for approval by the Eke Panuku Board before the sites can be sold.

“It is not possible to put a time frame on these preparatory works, they simply take as much time as is needed to work through the various processes.”

Edwards said she couldn’t speculate when the Ardmore Hall or Bell Field would be put on the market for sale.

Local democracy reporting

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