Nod for whaling wing, subject to conditions

The Picton Historical Society's application to extend its museum building on the Picton foreshore has been successful in its third resource consent application.

In an interim decision last month, planning commissioner Richard Fowler, QC, said there was no statutory reason a resource consent could not be granted to extend the London Quay museum.

He granted it, subject to more than 10 conditions being agreed between the society and the Marlborough District Council. The conditions included removing the changing sheds, hours of operation, colour scheme, lighting, and others the council might suggest.

"This remains an interim decision until such conditions are finalised."

Mr Fowler set a six-week deadline for agreement to be reached.

In the decision, Mr Fowler said the natural character of the locality was not diminished by the proposed extension, as it was already heavily modified. There was no adverse effect on privacy enjoyed on adjoining residential properties and no significant effect on daylight or shading of adjoining properties.

It did not adversely affect car movements or parking in the area, and the extension did not affect the safe flow of traffic on adjoining roads, he said.

"The application of the statutory criteria suggest that the application for a resource consent can be granted, if appropriate conditions can be fixed. Since that has not yet been determined, this cannot be a final decision and the hearing is adjourned on that basis," he said.

The society's new proposal to demolish the changing sheds between the museum and the mini-golf course, and to establish the area as green space to replace that lost to the planned extension appeared to be what persuaded Mr Fowler to approve the application.

"I am persuaded that the net adverse impact, with the mitigation factored in (particularly the recovery of the changing sheds area to open space if simultaneous with the addition of the extension) is sufficiently diminished to tip the balance in favour of granting the application."

Picton Historical Society museum liaison officer Bill Brehaut said the society was pleased consent had been granted for a whaling wing extension to the Picton Heritage & Whaling Museum.

"The approval contains conditions to be met as part of the consent and these will be mutually agreed and confirmed with Marlborough District Council in the next few weeks. The approval remains an interim decision until such conditions are finalised early February."

He said the approval, by an independent commissioner, followed three applications lodged in 30 months since starting the project. It involved 3000 pages of notes, drawings, correspondence and consent applications, as well as $30,000 spent on architect, council and consultant fees.

The next steps would be to progress the design of the whaling wing extension through to building consent, Dr Brehaut said, and at the same time, negotiate with the council a lease of reserve land to be occupied by the extension.

Council spokesman Dean Heiford said staff had been discussing conditions for the extension. "Work is under way."

The Marlborough Express