Ardmore Hall and Bell Field could be sold after Franklin Local Board approved a sale subject to any proceeds being reinvested in an Ardmore / Clevedon area project.
Because the area is also home to a war memorial, the board also resolved any sale would have to provide historic heritage protections.
While accepting that a sale was the most appropriate of six options, the board also asked Auckland Council’s development agency Eke Panuku – which would handle any sale, to work with it on any sales strategy.
Board Chair Andy Baker says that would ensure local and heritage considerations were included, and that local use, such as selling to nearby Ardmore School, or other local groups, could be considered.
“The board expects Eke Panuku to return with potential purchaser options so members can ensure an appropriate fit for the location and community.
“To that end, we have also asked council staff to prioritise community, social and heritage outcomes in any sale and reinvestment approach.”
An investigation into Ardmore Hall, badly damaged by fire in 2021, and the adjacent Bell Field, was completed to understand options for their futures.
The hall has been unavailable for hire since the fire, with the field mainly used for cricket, and occasionally by the school.
Repairing the hall was likely to be expensive and there were also adequate hire venues in the area, with available sports parks expected to meet future demand. Bell Field was not fit for sport but could be used as a suburban park.
Wairoa subdivision member Malcolm Bell says the hall and World War One memorial are on the council’s Cultural Heritage Inventory.
“None of us want to see memorials vanish, so we very much want to safeguard that history.
“It’s also important to recognise some families in the area are living descendants of the original providers of the land. They have been involved in the process and it’s important we continue to consider their views.”
There are 12 council hire venues, two community centres, and multiple bookable spaces run by non-council providers within 10 kilometres of the hall, and 17 council-owned sports parks in the wider area.
Baker says community views were carefully considered as part of a package that put six options to the board.
“We considered the status quo, both repairing the hall and keeping the field or upgrading it, selling the hall and keeping the field, selling the field and keeping the hall, and finally, disposing of both.
“All of those options were assessed against various factors to ensure the right decision. Selling is the best outcome, especially with proceeds reinvested in the area, in terms of value for money and doing what’s best for the community long-term.”
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