Final curtain for historic building

The death knell has sounded for the historic Barrons building in Rattray St and its neighbour, the N. and E.S. Paterson building.

Demolition consents for both buildings were signed yesterday, after engineers reported the Barrons building was in danger of collapse.

The news has disappointed Dunedin archivist Dr David Murray, who organised a petition to save the building.

He said yesterday he hoped the site would not turn into a car park, or end up like the "hideous" space left in High St where buildings had been demolished recently.

On Tuesday, the Dunedin City Council was notified the rear wall of the Barrons building had started to bow.

Two separate sections of the building collapsed on January 12, and parapets fell on to the roof, causing it to collapse inwards on to the second storey.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed the building shared a wall with the N. and E.S. Paterson building, and demolition had been sought for that building, too.

Council chief building control officer Neil McLeod said yesterday morning he would be issuing demolition consents for 173 and 175 Rattray St later in the day.

Engineers' advice on the Barrons building the council had been waiting for had arrived.

"The consent has been given because several engineers' advice has indicated the building is in imminent danger of collapse."

The N. and E.S. Paterson building next door had received demolition consent because of the "symbiotic" relationship it had with the Barrons building.

Barrons building owner Lincoln Darling said yesterday he had no idea when demolition would take place.

The issue was in the hands of his insurance company, but with the Christchurch earthquake taking up so much of insurers' time, it could take a week or longer.

No decision had been made on the future of the site.

Dr Murray said Dunedin had to put more effort and energy into both saving its heritage and keeping people safe.

"I think we can do both," he said.



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