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Help decide the future of heritage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
________________________

Help decide the future of heritage
October 7, 2005

Anyone interested in the character suburbs of Northcote Pt and Birkenhead Pt, whether they are 'Pointers' or otherwise, are invited to a meeting later this month to learn more about plans to protect the areas' heritage buildings.

The Birkenhead-Northcote Heritage Working Party is holding its inaugural meeting at the St Luke's Methodist Hall, 22 Greenslade Cres, Northcote on Thursday, October 20 at 7pm.

North Shore City Councillor and heritage advocate, Tony Holman, is inviting interested residents to attend.

"We're urging people to come along, share their views on heritage and find out how they can influence changes to our District Plan designed to protect our built environment," Councillor Holman says.

"It's time we took stock of our heritage buildings and recognise the significant historic and economic value of our villas, halls and houses," says the lifelong Northcote Pt resident who has represented the council on the North Shore Heritage Trust since its inception in 2002.

Last year North Shore City Council commissioned conservation architects Matthews & Matthews to conduct a detailed study of Birkenhead's and Northcote's heritage buildings. Copies of the report are now available for inspection at the council's Glenfield, Northcote and (temporary) Birkenhead libraries.

Tony Holman says attendees will hear first-hand of the council's plans to clarify and strengthen the District Plan rules that protect the heritage character of Birkenhead, Northcote and Devonport.

"We must take better care of our environment, both natural and built," he says.

"How we deal with building and resource consent applications is critical to ensure we give due consideration to heritage values. Improved monitoring of consent conditions is needed to ensure buildings are safe to live in and also good to look at by the whole community."

The instigation of the Birkenhead-Northcote Heritage Working Party follows the example of another iconic North Shore destination, Devonport, whose community board established a group last Christmas to address the same issue. Around 40 people attended Devonport's first meeting almost a year ago.

Across the harbour bridge, Auckland City Council has taken an ever-increasing interest in heritage protection with extensive community consultation on the controversial topic this year.

The North Shore City Council aims to release its own plan change before the end of the year.

ENDS

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