Building owners wary of heritage register obligations

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 19/02/2013
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The Gore District Council is trying to add 12 more buildings to the heritage register, but one owner says he wants the right to pull his building down if it is unsafe.

Four Gore business owners will present submissions at a hearing next week explaining why they want their businesses to be left off the heritage list.

The council wants to add 12 buildings to the register to protect historical sites and maintain the town's character.

Owners of the ASB, Donald Buckley's/McCutcheon, Gore Club Inc and La Hood's buildings are opposed to being heritage-listed in case they are considered to be an earthquake risk and need repairs.

La Hood's The Chemist owner Mark La Hood said he wanted the building removed from the list or an agreement to be made about repairs.

The building could be damaged in an earthquake and need rebuilding for safety reasons, or some areas might need earthquake strengthening, he said.

"If there's a safety issue, I want to make the decision. I like to command my own ship; we want the right to pull it down," he said.

Gore District Council planning consultant Keith Hovell said an earthquake risk should not dictate what goes on the heritage register.

If someone wanted to make a change to a heritage building they could apply to do so through the council, he said. Last year, a heritage building needed urgent repair because of a dangerous chimney and the council approved the work.

The remaining eight buildings on the list are Whittingham buildings, Capri, Ensign, Investment House, former National Bank building, Old Post, Peterson's building and Shoe Biz, all on Main or Mersey streets.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust general manager southern Rob Hall said he did not have time to comment on the role of the trust and the issue of earthquake risks yesterday.

The hearing will be held at the Gore District Council on February 26 and is open to the public.

terri.russell@stl.co.nz

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