Daily Archives: February 22, 2012

Expedience: Dunedin City Council’s blunt instrument to demolish listed buildings

Resource Consent Application: LUC-2011-567
191 King Edward Street, Dunedin

Senior planner Campbell Thomson addressing the Applicant on behalf of the Dunedin City Council as at 27 January 2012, writes:

[excerpt, page 1]
“Your application for land use consent for the demolition of an existing building listed in Schedule 25.1 of the District Plan and located within a townscape precinct, at 191 King Edward Street, Dunedin, was processed on a non-notified basis in accordance with sections 95A to 95F of the Resource Management Act 1991. The application was considered by a Senior Planner under delegated authority on 27 January 2012.

“I advise that the Council has granted consent to the application with conditions. The decision and condition are shown on the attached certificate.”

Under ‘Planning Assessment’, Mr Thomson states:

[excerpt, page 3]
Affected Persons
No written consents were submitted with the application. No parties are considered to be adversely affected by this proposal for the reasons outlined below in the section headed Effects on the Environment. It is noted that the New Zealand Historic Places Trust were consulted as a Statutory Body with an interest in the proposal. Their concerns will be addressed through the requirement for an Archaeological Authority which applies to the proposal. There are no special circumstances which warrant notification of this application. While demolition of heritage or townscape buildings generally raises issues of public interest, in this case, the structural condition of the building has reached a state whereby removal of the building façade has become necessary as a matter of public safety. The key environmental issue relevant to this proposal is how to mitigate the loss of the building.”

It is unreasonable and erroneous, in the context provided by the letter writer, for the Dunedin City Council to state that “the New Zealand Historic Places Trust were consulted”.

It is unreasonable and erroneous of the Council to claim “No parties are considered to be adversely affected by this proposal”, supported by following paragraphs that do not mitigate the wrongfulness of the unjust premise.

The letter granting consent carries other instances of pomposity and disregard for due process. Where does natural justice fit?

This forum isn’t the appropriate place to debate glaring technicalities, in light of what ‘affected party’ status requires as a burden of care on the part of the Dunedin City Council. Suffice to say, the Council is telling porkies.

Furthermore, the Dunedin City Council cannot hope to reduce or limit the work, powers and functions of the autonomous Crown Entity, New Zealand Historic Places Trust, empowered under the Historic Places Act 1993, to just that of regulatory responsibilities regarding archaeological sites — for the Council’s own undemocratic purposes.

Certainly, not by Mr Thomson’s convenient slip of the Council’s red pen.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

### D Scene 22.2.12
Opinion: Protecting heritage (page 7)
By Owen Graham
When is a heritage building protected, and when is it not? That question is one that deserves closer attention as the effects of building neglect become more apparent in our city. In the coming months more gaps will occur in our city heritage precincts, particularly with buildings in Rattray St and King Edward St being readied for demolition. They were not damaged by earthquakes, rather by successive owners who have opted to diminish their attractiveness, economic viability and historical significance in what ultimately results in demolition by neglect. {continues} #bookmark

• Owen Graham is the New Zealand Historic Places Trust area manager (Otago/Southland)

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