Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Dunedin demolition consent a loss for city’s heritage

A group of derelict and dangerous buildings in Princes Street will be demolished, but the owner will retain one of those earlier earmarked for removal, Dunedin City Council announced today.

The Council today granted consent for the demolition of buildings at 380, 382 and 386 Princes Street and 11 Stafford Street, as well as the protected heritage facades of 380, 386 and 392 Princes Street.

Council Team Leader Advisory Services, Mark Mawdsley said while the outcome is a loss for heritage in the city, the buildings were collapsing and too dangerous to save.

“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into trying to find ways to save these buildings’ historic facades. In the end, it’s simply not possible to have contractors working on site, protecting the facades while bringing down the buildings, as we had hoped,” Mr Mawdsley said.

“Sadly, the rate of collapse means we are forced to acknowledge these facades are no longer salvageable.”

However, the buildings’ latest owner – who purchased them in March 2021 – will now retain the building and its protected façade at 372-378 Princes Street, which is in better condition.

It had been among those approved for demolition when an earlier consent was granted to a previous owner.

“There was a real risk we could lose all four heritage buildings, through demolition or structural failure,” said Mr Mawdsley.

“Retaining building at 372-378 Princes Street – as opposed to just its façade – is a preferrable heritage outcome. It will ensure at least one of these important Princes Street heritage buildings is protected for future generations.”

The plans for demolition have been discussed with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, which is responsible for issuing an Archaeological Authority. Historic bread ovens at the rear of 392 Princes Street will be retained in situ.

“The loss of these historic buildings is regrettable from a heritage perspective, but the focus will now shift to working with the owner to support a new development that is sympathetic to the historic streetscape,” Mr Mawdsley says.

The consent also requires construction of replacement buildings to begin within two years of demolition being completed. If that cannot be achieved, a public pocket park will be constructed on the site until redevelopment begins.

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