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Commissioner to decide fate of the Fitzroy Hotel

Commissioner appointed to decide fate of the Fitzroy Hotel

The Regulatory and Fixtures Subcommittee have appointed an independent commissioner to make a determination on a resource consent application to demolish and redevelop the former Fitzroy Hotel on Wakefield Street.

The developer, Golden City Developments, first lodged the resource consent application in October 2003. At the time the building was not scheduled as a heritage building under the council’s District Plan or protected by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

The council has an obligation to the applicant to process this consent through the normal channels and to follow the requirements of the Resource Management Act

In March 2004, Mr Allan Matson, an Auckland heritage campaigner, brought to light the heritage matters associated with the existing building on site and requested that the building be scheduled. Mr Matson had obtained documentation to show that the Fitzroy Hotel had been owned by Mr Richard Seccombe, a founder of the Great Northern Brewery Company which later became Lion Breweries, and it therefore had great historical significance.

On 2 April 2004, the City Development Committee recommended that a variation to the Proposed District Plan (Central Area Section) to schedule the building be initiated subject to confirmation that the building reached a rating of over 50 points.

Mr Ian Grant, a senior specialist architect/planner for Auckland City’s Heritage Division confirmed that he had reassessed the building, confirmed the historical background supplied by Mr Matson and given a score of 57 points.

A public notice announcing the council’s intention to initiate a plan change variation to the Auckland City District Plan Proposed Central Area Section was published on Sunday 25 April. The proposed plan change variation seeks to include the former Fitzroy Hotel as a category B scheduled building.

Assessment of a building is decided by evaluations of individual criteria or characteristics, leading to the cumulative allocation of a numeric score.

This score is not a percentage, but a comparative numeric value that may exceed 100 points. This geometric scale is used to ensue that exceptional examples in a particular category can receive recognition due to the heritage value identified.

Any building which scores between 50-79 points is classified as ‘category B’ and if a building scores 80 or above it is classified as ‘category A’. Anything less than 50 points and the building does not have significant heritage value to be considered for scheduling.

Category A buildings are deemed to have outstanding natural beauty, or architectural, scientific or historical significance which extends well beyond the immediate environment. Category A means that heritage with this classification cannot be demolished.

Category B buildings, while less significant than category A items, are of such quality and character that they should not be demolished, damaged or altered in a significant way without resource consent.

Prior to the Proposed District Plan (Central Area Section) being amended by council decisions in October 2003, a 3-year submission, further submission and reference process was undertaken that gave opportunities for either the public or interested organisations to put forward additional buildings for scheduling. During this period both the NZ Historic Places Trust and the Auckland Regional Council put forward a number of extra buildings they considered worthy of evaluation for scheduling. The Fitzroy Hotel was not identified by either authority or any members of the public for review or evaluation.

At the end of this submission period ten pubs/hotels were scheduled under the District Plan as heritage buildings within the central area.

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