Demolition hearing likely this year

The Princes St buildings. Image supplied.
The Princes St buildings. Image supplied.

A dispute over the planned demolition of a group of heritage buildings in Dunedin's Princes St is entering its fifth year, with indications it should go before the Environment Court this year.

The plan to demolish and rebuild the buildings at 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St and replace them with apartments and retail space has been under debate since 2008.

In September 2010, the Dunedin City Council granted resource consent to Prista Apartments for its project.

The decision, which required the company to replace the buildings with those of a similar design, followed two years of hearings, petitions, public meetings and heated opposition.

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust appealed the decision, and the row of buildings has lain dormant since.

A 2011 hearing was delayed because of the lack of availability of professional engineers and other witnesses, as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes, and mediation between Prista and the Historic Places Trust last year failed to find a resolution satisfactory to all parties.

Council resource consents manager Alan Worthington said a timetable for exchanging evidence was in place and a court hearing was anticipated mid-year.

Christchurch developer Luke Dirkzwager said a considerable sum of money had been spent getting to this stage, but his company was still committed to the project.

''Of course, I would have preferred it would have been done by now, but the Historic Places Trust obviously have a different view to things than us, and that's fine.''

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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