Devonport Heritage Responds To The Environment Court’s Decision

Posted by on Aug 10, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Decision made on Devonport's Masonic TavernBelow is the response from Devonport Heritage to the Environment Court’s decision on The Masonic Tavern.

The Environment Court has released its interim decision rejecting the appeals by Devonport Heritage, the Masonic Friendly Society and others, to the proposal to redevelop the Masonic hotel into apartments.

This was a hugely disappointing decision and we now face the reality that most of this 144 year old hotel will be demolished.

It was not a unanimous decision with one of the commissioners agreeing with the appellants view that the north wall of the hotel should remain and one apartment should be declined.

However Judge Thompson and the third commissioner agreed that reconstruction of the front of the hotel to something resembling its original state would give a strong echo of heritage value.

The court then has chosen to keep a strong echo rather than protecting a building of genuine historical importance.

In its decision the court noted that Devonport Heritage had signed a consent order in 2000 which listed only the facade and therefore that was all that had to be retained.

It ignored the fact that in 2003 the RMA elevated the status of heritage protection to a level of national importance (through Section 6f) which rendered the earlier listing out of date.

This section of the RMA gives the Environment Court the power to take a larger view of heritage protection and ensure that no new development has an adverse effect on heritage values.

In this case the Court has refused to exercise this prerogative and has come down on the side of the developer.

I would like to thank all those who have supported us in this appeal, through donations and helping with the house tour fund-raiser this year.

Our work will continue.

We have a big job ahead of us making sure that Devonport’s unique heritage identity is protected in the Auckland Supercity.

Margot McRae

Chairperson

Devonport Heritage Inc

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