Heritage Provisions in the Christchurch Replacement District Plan

We have completed a brief review of the new heritage provisions recently notified in Stage 3 of the proposed Replacement District Plan (the pRDP). Some of the key changes that may affect heritage building owners are as follows.

 Classification of heritage items

The classification of some existing heritage buildings has changed and a small number of new heritage buildings have been identified. Heritage items  have been classified as either “Group 1 - high significance” or “Group 2 – significant”. The rules that apply to Group 1 and Group 2 heritage items are very similar. About 27 new heritage items have been identified with 10 of these located in the Central City. Most of the new items outside the Central City are cemeteries or open space areas (i.e. not buildings).

Identification of “highly significant heritage items” and “heritage settings”

To be identified as a “highly significant heritage item”, the building or place must relate to activities or aspects of the Christchurch District that conveys important  aspects of its contextual/thematic development, and thereby makes an important contribution to its sense of place and identity.  The building or place must also have strongly credible evidence to justify that it is of high significance to the Christchurch District, and overall the item must be whole or intact in its meaning, sense of place and physical fabric to stronglydemonstrate it is of high significance. If these criteria are met, the item will be identified as a highly significant heritage item. The “heritage setting” is shown on planning maps as the immediate area surrounding the location of a heritage building.

You can view the pRDP planning maps to see if a heritage item or heritage setting has been identified on your land by entering your property address into the property search field using this link; http://proposeddistrictplan.ccc.govt.nz/PropertySearch/DistrictPlanContainer.html

Rules regulating heritage items

 The rules managing heritage items have been re-written and the amendments generally increase the consenting requirements to alter, repair or demolish heritage buildings. The consequences of a building being identified as a highly significant heritage item are as follows-

  • Demolishing the building requires consent as a non-complying activity
  • Alterations to the interior and exterior of the building, including additions, and alterations to the setting by placing a structure on the land require consent as a restricted discretionary activity,
  • Reconstruction or upgrade works require consent as a controlled activity, and
  • Maintenance and repairs do not require consent and are a permitted activity, subject to compliance with various performance standards.

There are new rules that restrict modifications to the heritage setting including relocation of a heritage item within this area and the location of new buildings into this area.

You may recall that after the Canterbury Earthquakes a suite of new heritage rules were inserted into the City Plan that provided for repair, reconstruction and alteration of heritage buildings to enable recovery of these buildings after the earthquakes. These provisions have not been carried over into the pRDP and it is not clear whether the new rules, which appear similar, will operate the same or make it more difficult to complete earthquake repairs and alterations.

Resource consent assessment criteria

There are multiple assessment criteria that must be considered when resource consent is required to alter a heritage building. These generally focus on preventing or minimising damage to heritage fabric  and values, however they also include matters such as the damage caused by the Canterbury Earthquakes, intervention required to meet Building Act requirements and whether the proposal will provide for ongoing and viable uses, including adaptive reuse, of the heritage item.  

What are your options?

If you have intentions of altering the interior or exterior of a heritage building in the future, its status as a heritage item will present some barriers. It may be worthwhile investigating whether removing the heritage listing is feasible (although generally this would be challenging to achieve). Alternatively you could assess whether the rules can be modified to make them less onerous on heritage building owners that have buildings damaged by the Canterbury Earthquakes so that it is easier to repair and adapt these buildings for reuse in the future.

Submissions on the Stage 3 close next Friday, 4 September. If you would like to discuss any of the above or need any help lodging a submission then please let us know.

Disclaimer: This is a brief summary for information purposes only and is not legal advice

Posted on Friday 28th August, 2015 at 02:42 pm