Building row may lead to heritage plan

An unresolved stoush over a new commercial building on Lawrence's historic main street may have a "silver lining'', one of the parties concerned says.

"Heritage enthusiast'' Julie Walker, who owns Lawrence's 149-year-old former town hall in Ross Pl, called a public meeting last Friday to discuss residents' concerns over development of the neighbouring section.

She said she was concerned the building was no more than a "shed'', whose design was "disrespectful'' to Lawrence's noted heritage streetscape, some of which dates back to Otago's 1860s gold rush.

Speaking yesterday, Mrs Walker said although it was "too late'' to change plans for the new building, those attending Friday's meeting had expressed strong support for developing a future "heritage precinct'' in the town.

"The owners of the new building submitted a letter to the meeting, which detailed some of their plans for embellishing the frontage, and I'm sure people will be watching carefully now how that develops.

"Although [the building] will block the heritage stone facade of the neighbouring former town hall, it's too late to change that. The silver lining is that there's now strong momentum among residents to establish a heritage precinct in town.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan, who was one of about 50 people at Friday's meeting, said the atmosphere had been "positive''.

"As always, the spirit of Lawrence shone through, demonstrating strong support for its heritage past.

"Council is scheduled to conduct a full district plan review in 2020-21 and, given what we saw on Friday is reflected in eventual submissions to that plan, a heritage precinct is something we might need to look at to address residents' desires for greater conservation.''


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