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Protecting our city’s heritage

Protecting our city’s heritage
January 25, 2008

A North Shore City Council review of how a heritage home in Devonport that was largely demolished got building and resource consent has shown it was within the rules.

However, consent was given before new rules which further protect the city’s heritage character have come into force.

North Shore City Council compliance and monitoring team leader, David Frith, says in future consent applications will be assessed against new rules which do not allow more than 30 per cent of a heritage building to be demolished.

“Over recent years, there have been more applications for controlled activity consents for additions or alterations, because it is less difficult to get than a limited discretionary activity to demolish or remove a building,” he says.

“Clearly protecting our city’s heritage character by preserving its buildings was becoming an increasing challenge, which is why a change to the North Shore District Plan was initiated,” he says.

Plan Change 21, which was notified in March last year, was also in response to community concern and changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA)

North Shore City Council specialist heritage advisor, Aranne Donald, says heritage is now also required to be recognised and provided for as a matter of national importance.

“The worry was that controls on development in the residential three zone – especially in Devonport, Northcote and Birkenhead - were not strong enough and that those neighbourhoods were losing some of their heritage character,” she says.

“One of the aims of Plan Change 21 was to define demolition and put in place a threshold which provides a distinction between an alteration and demolition.”

The changes as a result of Plan Change 21 becoming operative include:
 Changing the status of alterations, additions and new buildings to limited discretionary activities, giving council the ability to refuse consent for inappropriate proposals
 Taking into account a building’s heritage character no matter what its age
 A maximum height of 1.2m rather than 1.8, for fences on a street frontage

Deliberations on Plan Change 21 continue following hearings by commissioners late last year. A decision is expected in late March.

ENDS

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