14 September 2016
Demolition of disused church approved
Retaining the heritage features and history of a 107-year-old church in central Gore are among conditions in a land use consent for its demolition, approved by the Gore District Council this week.
GTM Development Ltd proposes to develop a two-storey office building, incorporating a café, on the site at the corner of Irk and Fairfield streets. The church, a listed heritage structure in the Council’s District Plan, was built in 1909 and used for services until 1990.
The decision follows a hearing in June before Gore District hearing commissioners Crs Nicky Davis and Cliff Bolger.
Gore District Council planning officer Rosie Given said eight submissions had been received. While a couple raised concerns about aspects of the proposal, none wanted the church retained.
The consent is subject to a number of conditions addressing parking, the retention of the church’s heritage features and its history, and the level of financial contribution required.
GTM Development is required to develop a conservation plan setting out the method for recording the heritage features, and the reuse of those features in the new building. A display in the foyer will include the foundation stone of the church, the silver cross and stained glass from the church.
The conservation plan will need to be approved by the Council’s chief executive Stephen Parry.
The financial contribution has been set at a rate of 0.3% of the value of the development, to a maximum of $10,000.
In their decision the hearing commissioners note the church was unusable and likely to further deteriorate if not demolished, making it less likely to be used for any long term activity.
The reuse of various parts of the building and proposed interactive visual display mitigates, to some degree, the loss of heritage values of the building, they said.
The applicant or any submitter may appeal the decision to the Environment Court within 15 days of it being released.