Historic Hutt buildings may survive

Last updated 12:45 26/02/2014
Hutt Town Hall
One option: An artist's impression of the conference centre that could replace the Lower Hutt Horticultural Centre and Town Hall.

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Two historic halls slated for demolition in Lower Hutt may get a reprieve.

Hutt City Council is considering demolishing the Horticultural Hall and Town Hall to make way for a convention centre.

The two halls are part of the Lower Hutt Civic Centre, a registered historic area.

This morning the council heard a proposal from a group of Hutt architects that would see the front third of each hall retained.

A new modern structure would be built inside, and earthquake strengthening would also take place.

"These halls should be a source of pride," architect Steve Shadwell said.

"Demolition is an irreversible course of action."

Historic Places Trust general manager Ann Neill also said was working on plans that would see the Town Hall largely retained, and a modern convention centre developed.

Lower Hutt's civic centre was unique in New Zealand, she said.

"We want to retain the Town Hall as the heart of the civic precinct".

Heart of the Hutt, a group dedicated to stopping the demolition, has proposed extensive landscaping to link the wider civic area together.

Spokesman Charles Sands said to demolish the halls would be "a massive self-inflicted wound".

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace said the council was still working with interested groups and no final decision had even made.

The cost of strengthening the two halls, built in the 1950s, has been put at $6.3 million, while the planned 1400-seat convention centre would cost $10.5m.

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- The Dominion Post

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