Deadlock on New Regent Street 'travesty'

BOARDED UP: Some of the unrestored properties on Christchurch's New Regent St.
BOARDED UP: Some of the unrestored properties on Christchurch's New Regent St.

The shabby state of one of Christchurch's most historic streets is a "travesty" that is threatening to spoil the busy Christmas shopping season, shopkeepers say.

Five units in New Regent St owned by the same Christchurch family have not been restored and are boarded up awaiting repair.

They are causing problems for retailers as they are unsightly and two have been deemed earthquake prone, meaning a safety fence has been partially blocking the street since June.

The street reopened in March with every property except five restored and strengthened.

New Regent Business Association chairman Dan Joines said the deadlock was a "travesty".

"The shops are finding it hard . . . They [the units] have made the street look shabby," he said. "The whole street is disappointed that those five units haven't been restored and [the owners] left the hoardings and the fence up.

"New Regent St is a public street and this fence is hindering access and making people anxious because they wonder if those units are safe."

Joines has been holding talks with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority in an attempt to have the fence removed.

A Cera spokesman said there was progress yesterday in discussions with the property owner on the fencing, and it was hoped an arrangement would be finalised by today.

It is understood that Helen Thacker is the building owners' representative. Property records show Joan Patricia Thacker owns the five unrestored units.

Helen Thacker said she had legal advice not to speak publicly on the matter.

The Wizard, who has made New Regent St his new base of operations in the city centre, is also calling for the fence to be removed. He initially threatened to pull the fence down himself, but has since decided against it for safety reasons.

Joines said retailers were planning a Christmas festival on December 7, including a band and street performers, to bring people back to the city centre.

The Press