Hutt council building to be done up, not knocked down

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 08:29 12/12/2012
hutt city council
FAIRFAX NZ

SURVIVOR: Hutt City Council's civic adminsitration building.

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The heritage-listed but earthquake- prone headquarters of Hutt City Council have escaped the wrecking ball.

A council meeting last night decided to strengthen the current building, rather than knock it down and start again.

The 1957 building will be revamped internally and its western wing will be demolished. Heritage features, such as the clock tower, will be retained in the $22 million project.

The meeting rejected an option to demolish the building.

Deputy Mayor David Bassett, who chaired the project steering group, said it was the right call.

"One of the drivers for me was the heritage issue. We need to keep as much of our heritage as we can."

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace said he had been told councillors would be "hung drawn and quartered" if the building was demolished.

The complex houses the council chambers, and mayoral and administration facilities.

The civic centre as a whole - including the the War Memorial Library and St James Church - is on the Historic Places Trust register, and the heritage chapter of the council's district plan. But it was considered earthquake prone, and "a potential risk to the occupants and the public", a report said. The building's layout hindered communication and did not help productivity.

Council chief executive Tony Stallinger said staff would be pleased with the decision.

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