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An independent commissioner has yet to rule on an application by the Ministry of Health to fully demolish the Cumberland St buildings to make way for the new Dunedin hospital.
In newly released documents submitted to the Dunedin City Council regarding the consent application, Heritage New Zealand (HNZ) said the former factory site — which is a category 2 historic place — had "heritage significance".
"The buildings provide a tangible link to the site’s history of land use, including as a brewery, distillery and confectioner," HNZ southern region director Sheila Watson said.
"As these land uses are under-represented among previously recognised heritage and archaeological sites, the Cadbury factory buildings and site hold scientific value and education potential."
HNZ also accepted the public benefit of the proposed hospital build.
It would accept the demolition proposal so long as proper mitigation for the demolition of the facades was agreed to by the ministry, Ms Grant said.
That included retention of the dairy and machine house building, the drafting of conservation and maintenance plans for it, and that the building be restored and reused in a way which ensured its viability.
The ministry had already volunteered to have completed a conservation and use plan for the building within six months of demolition on the main factory beginning, Ms Grant said.
The organisation would support such a condition, but wanted the chance to comment on any draft plans before the council agreed to them.
"The opportunity for input from HNZ will help to ensure the restoration and reuse of the dairy and machine house building is appropriate and reflects the historic land use of the site."
HNZ was concerned the ministry had no planned use for the building in its application, other than it was being considered for non-clinical functions.
"This suggests that the restoration works and reuse may not eventuate" Ms Grant said.
"HNZ considers that a condition requiring the retention and adaptive reuse of this building should be included if the consent is granted."
In additional material provided to the council by the ministry, it said it would mitigate the adverse affects of demolition by "the salvaging, safeguarding and where possible reuse of artefacts/features which reflect some of the history of this site."
The ministry acknowledged it had applied for demolition consent without having lodged consent for the new hospital, but the Government had spent more than $200million on the proposed $1.4billion project, which should give faith it would proceed.
That included spending about $84million acquiring 43,500sqm of land for the project, hiring design consultants who were working on plans for the building, and releasing $127million of the project’s budget for various work.
The independent commissioner will hold a hearing on November 2 before he makes his decision on the application.