By Mick Jensen
Redmond Retail Ltd wants to remove the Heritage A listing on the Cates grain store building it owns on West Street, Ashburton.
An application to de-list the building is set to be lodged with the Environment Court.
Redmond Retail Ltd, led by Barry and Chris Redmond, applied to Ashburton council to demolish the historic building at 229-241 West Street in 2017, but hearing commissioner David Mountfort declined the application in April of that year.
The building is classified Category A in the council’s operative plan, meaning demolition is viewed as a non-complying activity.
Mr Mountfort said at the hearing that he had concerns about evidence given on alternative uses for the building and was not fully convinced that the applicant had made the case for demolition.
He suggested one action for the future could be to make a request to change the Category A listing to Category B which could result in a discretionary activity.
If the building is de-listed, it will mean that the building owner is free to do as he wishes with it, within the usual regulations.
The Cates grain store dates back to the late 19th century, and although it has historic value, it is a building of two halves.
The front has a distinctive architectural style, particularly its curved roof and kauri wooden beams, but the building also features rear and north east side extensions and alterations that are “unsympathetic” to the original design.
The grain stores’s owner argues the demolition of the building and redevelopment of the site is the most efficient use of resources and the only financially viable option available. And also that its heritage value has diminished over time.