Thursday, March 29, 2012

Council Shafts Wynyard Quarter Heritage

This is another chapter in the ongoing saga of heritage building and heritage character protection on Auckland's waterfront. It concerns what is happening - or is in danger of happening - at Wynyard Quarter as relentless development pressure is brought to bear on the fragile heritage receiving environment that is being progressively developed.

While I was on Auckland Regional Council I worked hard with Councillor Sandra Coney in particular to get sufficient protections built into the relevant planning documents. This 2009 blog gives the background to an important change that was made by Auckland Regional Council to the Urban Design Framework for Wynyard Quarter. Up to that point in time the Framework did not include as a principle, any mention of maritime heritage.

Heritage experts were then retained to advise on the key buildings and features of Wynyard Quarter. Their work is illustrated in this map, which you can click on to see the full size.

The outlined buildings are those identified by the heritage advisers, while the dotted lines indicate the adjacent land that is important in terms of actually looking at the buildings and appreciating them.

The tanks that are outlined are those that were on Wynyard Quarter before 1940, and were regarded as heritage value because of that. This includes the cement silos.

The arrows are important. These indicate the significant vistas or views of the heritage buildings and character sites. It makes sense to have these indications - because there's no point in having heritage and looking after it if you can't actually see it.

With this expert work done, both the Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council were ready to notify the relevant changes to the District Plan and the Regional Plan Coastal. These changes included schedules identifying the heritage buildings that Council had agreed should be protected.

Immediately these schedules were criticised by land owners, many of whom wanted to demolish the buildings, create brown field sites and redevelop from scratch. During the Plan Change process the number of protected buildings was knocked back to 9, but Auckland Regional Council fought back indicating that heritage character was important not just narrowly defined heritage buildings. Many of these objections went before the Environment Court while I was still on Council. I recorded my concerns about these attacks, site by site, and building by building in this blog.

After the appeal, and after consideration by New Zealand's leading heritage judge this number was reduced by a further 3 this effectively destroyed a strong character precinct in Beauchamp Street between Fanshawe and Pakenham. This map sets out the Judge's decision.

But that's not all. In the plan that was finally notified, a number of laneways and new view shafts were identified – some of these went directly through identified character buildings. You see? In the beginning the heritage and character buildings were a big part of the view. Council went ahead to give effect to its 2009 decision: "that maritime heritage and waterfront character need to be protected and enhanced to the maximum extent possible, alongside other principles in the Urban Design Framework...."

This map - a more recent modification - shows these new view shafts, and the heritage buildings that are deemed "in the way" of these views. One view appears to be toward the city, the other appears to be toward the Harbour Bridge.

Ironic indeed that the newspaper reports of the Waterfront Conference and presentations being held now in Auckland - from Hamburg and such places - highlight the emphasis these exemplary waterfront developments accord maritime heritage.

Even more ironic that the views of modernist Auckland architecture are now being regarded as more important than views and buildings that have been identified by experts as being of significant heritage value.

Auckland is being shafted.

2 comments:

Geoff said...

It almost seems like Waterfront Auckland is not listening to anyone else...

Anonymous said...

The place was a dump and needed re-developing. If you wish to save buildings and areas why don't you band together with like minded people and buy them, opposed to misusing the purpose of government and trying to force other people to fund your the dreams and aspirations of the few.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Council Shafts Wynyard Quarter Heritage

This is another chapter in the ongoing saga of heritage building and heritage character protection on Auckland's waterfront. It concerns what is happening - or is in danger of happening - at Wynyard Quarter as relentless development pressure is brought to bear on the fragile heritage receiving environment that is being progressively developed.

While I was on Auckland Regional Council I worked hard with Councillor Sandra Coney in particular to get sufficient protections built into the relevant planning documents. This 2009 blog gives the background to an important change that was made by Auckland Regional Council to the Urban Design Framework for Wynyard Quarter. Up to that point in time the Framework did not include as a principle, any mention of maritime heritage.

Heritage experts were then retained to advise on the key buildings and features of Wynyard Quarter. Their work is illustrated in this map, which you can click on to see the full size.

The outlined buildings are those identified by the heritage advisers, while the dotted lines indicate the adjacent land that is important in terms of actually looking at the buildings and appreciating them.

The tanks that are outlined are those that were on Wynyard Quarter before 1940, and were regarded as heritage value because of that. This includes the cement silos.

The arrows are important. These indicate the significant vistas or views of the heritage buildings and character sites. It makes sense to have these indications - because there's no point in having heritage and looking after it if you can't actually see it.

With this expert work done, both the Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council were ready to notify the relevant changes to the District Plan and the Regional Plan Coastal. These changes included schedules identifying the heritage buildings that Council had agreed should be protected.

Immediately these schedules were criticised by land owners, many of whom wanted to demolish the buildings, create brown field sites and redevelop from scratch. During the Plan Change process the number of protected buildings was knocked back to 9, but Auckland Regional Council fought back indicating that heritage character was important not just narrowly defined heritage buildings. Many of these objections went before the Environment Court while I was still on Council. I recorded my concerns about these attacks, site by site, and building by building in this blog.

After the appeal, and after consideration by New Zealand's leading heritage judge this number was reduced by a further 3 this effectively destroyed a strong character precinct in Beauchamp Street between Fanshawe and Pakenham. This map sets out the Judge's decision.

But that's not all. In the plan that was finally notified, a number of laneways and new view shafts were identified – some of these went directly through identified character buildings. You see? In the beginning the heritage and character buildings were a big part of the view. Council went ahead to give effect to its 2009 decision: "that maritime heritage and waterfront character need to be protected and enhanced to the maximum extent possible, alongside other principles in the Urban Design Framework...."

This map - a more recent modification - shows these new view shafts, and the heritage buildings that are deemed "in the way" of these views. One view appears to be toward the city, the other appears to be toward the Harbour Bridge.

Ironic indeed that the newspaper reports of the Waterfront Conference and presentations being held now in Auckland - from Hamburg and such places - highlight the emphasis these exemplary waterfront developments accord maritime heritage.

Even more ironic that the views of modernist Auckland architecture are now being regarded as more important than views and buildings that have been identified by experts as being of significant heritage value.

Auckland is being shafted.

2 comments:

Geoff said...

It almost seems like Waterfront Auckland is not listening to anyone else...

Anonymous said...

The place was a dump and needed re-developing. If you wish to save buildings and areas why don't you band together with like minded people and buy them, opposed to misusing the purpose of government and trying to force other people to fund your the dreams and aspirations of the few.