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Residents powerless to resurrect mangy hovel

Sep 3rd, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

mangehousemainMOUNT Victoria residents will have to learn to live with a well-known local eyesore.

The house in question, 72 Pirie St, is a pre-1914 building on 91 square meters of land and sports an ever-changing exterior of loudly coloured posters.

Mount Victoria Residents’ Association president Jessica Closson says despite the terrible state of the building, the council is powerless to do anything about it.

“It’s not a residential property so it doesn’t have to comply with any health or safety standards,” says Ms Closson.

“It’s very funky, but I would rather see anything than what’s there right now.

“I just wish [the owners] would do something with it – anything.”

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean says the council would act only if the building was dangerous to pedestrians.

“If it was an earthquake hazard, for example, we could ensure the owner brought it up to code,” says Mr MacLean.

“However, due to its small size, it is not deemed to pose any significant risk.”

mangehouse2NewsWire obtained deed of title documents for the property dated April 29 1903, which show it has had just one owner, but has no history of ever being purchased by anyone.

A spokesman for Quotable Value, New Zealand’s largest property information company, confirmed that no sales have been recorded for this property, but stated it is owned by a May Ching.

Attempts made by NewsWire to contact the owner were unsuccessful.

The apparently abandoned building is hailed as a work of art by some but many consider it nothing more than a mess.

Residents have voiced their opinions about the house on the Residents’ Association website forum.

“Knock it down, tar-seal the site and rent it out for parking,” says one anonymous poster.

Another believes it is an icon of Mt Victoria.

“If it was in Venice for the Bienniale [sic] it would be lauded as art.”

The owner of the local dairy, which backs on to the rear of number 72, says the site has remained unused for many years.

“So many people ask but we don’t know,” says the owner, who preferred to remain anonymous.

“We never see the owner and we have been here for over five years.”

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is a Multimedia Journalist. After spending several years in the UK working in finance and administration, he returned to NZ last year to study Journalism. He has a keen interest in music, travel, economics, politics and literature.
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