Palmerston North heritage church looks for civic help

Palmerston North ratepayers might be asked to help the owners of heritage buildings pay part of the costs of earthquake strengthening.

The possibility was raised when a deputation from All Saints Church updated the city council's arts, culture and heritage committee on its $5 million strengthening and enhancement project on Monday.

Project spokesman John Hornblow said the church's building committee had already received expert advice from council staff about its plans.

"But the council needs to seriously consider its role in wider funding," he said.

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City Future general manager Sheryl Bryant said based on feedback on the council's heritage strategy, there would need to be further discussions with councillors.

A proposal would be prepared to be considered in next year's review of the council's long-term plan.

The only help the council has availableis through the Natural and Cultural Heritage Incentive Fund, worth $40,000 a year.

Hornblow said 80 per cent of the All Saints budget would be spent on the strengthening work.

The church community needed to raise about half of the total before it could apply to government funds for help.

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He said the city council had already set a precedent for helping pay to restore the city's heritage buildings through the Regent on Broadway makeover.

Although All Saints was owned by the church, not the council, it stood as a city icon with a history of hosting civic events.

Priest in charge of All Saints Nigel Dixon said the Wellington diocese supported the strengthening project, but he did not know how that would "translate into cash", as it faced problems with many of the 100 church buildings it owned.

Building committee chairman Vince Neall said heritage building owners in Wellington were able to get some financial help with making their buildings safer, particularly removing or securing parapets.

"Considerably more is being invested in their heritage buildings.

"Palmerston North may need to look again at what is there to assist."

 - Stuff

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