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Major plan change saves Auckland’s CBD character

2 September 2005

Major plan change saves Auckland’s CBD character

Auckland City Council has today announced major changes to the central area plan to provide better protection of pre-1940 buildings in the Queen Street Valley and Karangahape Road precincts.

Auckland City’s Mayor Dick Hubbard says the proposed changes are part of a major move by council to protect heritage buildings and celebrate the character of the city.

Proposed plan change 5 introduces demolition controls and assessment criteria which determine the contribution pre-1940 buildings make to the surrounding streets.

Current controls on demolition are limited to scheduled buildings, buildings in recognised conservation areas (such as Princes Street) and a general control on the demolition of buildings that require a resource consent, but do not provide for the consideration of any heritage or character issues.

“The current controls fall well short of the mark in terms of what we want to protect and retain,” says Mayor Dick Hubbard. “This council is hugely aware of the valuable contribution heritage buildings make to the character and soul of the city in which we live.

“This proposed plan change recommends controls to ensure the character of Queen Street and Karangahape Road is maintained.”

The plan change proposes that in these precincts buildings currently older than 65 years (pre-1940) will be subject to additional criteria in the demolition controls.
While post-1940 buildings can, and do in some instances, exhibit heritage values and contribute to the character and urban form of the city, the council has chosen to limit the demolition controls to a 1940 cut-off date to capture the buildings that most strongly influence the character of these precincts.

Buildings post-1940 will still be subject to the existing demolition controls, but not the additional criteria.

Setting this limit focuses on the influence buildings of this era have on street character and provides a greater level of certainty to building owners of the development potential on particular sites.

Under the current district plan rules the demolition of buildings is only regulated as a restricted controlled activity resource consent. The council cannot decline these applications but can only impose conditions on demolition management and post-demolition site amenity.

The proposed controls will place more emphasis on recognising character and heritage values.

The chairperson of the Auckland City’s Environment, Heritage and Urban Form Committee, Councillor Christine Caughey says, “With the proposed plan, being notified today, we are tightening our controls to ensure we leave a heritage legacy for future generations to enjoy.

“This proposed plan change comes only three months after the notification of plan change 163, which introduces new provisions in the isthmus district plan to the residential 1 and 2 zones, and potentially affects more than 16,300 character homes,” say Ms Caughey.

There are potentially 140 buildings in the Queen Street Valley and Karangahape Road precincts that are not otherwise protected by the district plan, which will be recognised by the pre-1940 demolition control.

“This is a significant number of buildings in a concentrated part of the CBD contributing to the character and urban form of the heart of our city,” says Ms Caughey.

The proposed controls require resource consent applications as a restricted discretionary activity and empowers the council to decline demolition applications, where assessment criteria have not been met.

The assessment criteria cover:

- the extent to which the existing building contributes to the character of the area and whether its removal would detract from that character

- the extent to which the building may be beyond restoration and its retention would therefore be an unreasonable burden on its owner

- whether the building is part of a cohesive group of buildings of similar characteristics and that therefore its demolition would have an adverse effect on the shared contribution of the group to the character of the area

- the extent to which the design of any replacement building acknowledges and contributes to the established character of the precinct. Under this assessment an application for the replacement is required to be lodged concurrently with the application for demolition or removal.

Developers are encouraged to submit plans to Auckland City’s urban design panel prior to applying for resource consent to ensure that their designs will be in harmony with good urban design practices promoted by the council.

The proposed plan change will not affect the status of existing demolition consents.

Members of the public have until Friday, 30 September 2005 to make submissions on the proposed plan change. Copies of the proposed plan change and background information are available on Auckland City’s website www.aucklandcity.govt.nz, or at level 11, Civic Administration Building, 1 Greys Ave, central city or at Auckland city libraries.


Notes to editors:

Scheduled buildings Heritage buildings which are listed and protected in the district plan.

Restricted discretionary activity Requires a resource consent which can be declined by council. “Restricted” means that only those matters that are set out in the District Plan are assessed. Council can specify whether or not a particular activity will be notified.

Restricted controlled activity Requires a resource consent, but the resource consent cannot be declined. “Restricted” means that only those matters that are set out in the District Plan are assessed. These activities are not able to be notified, unless there are special circumstances.

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