Advocacy

Since its formation, Historic Places Wellington (HPW) has focussed its advocacy on a number of heritage buildings. Please click on the link to read more about each building:

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Our chairperson Felicity Wong gave a presentation to U3A Wellington city on 31 August 2021 on Built Heritage Challenges. You can read a summary of it here. One of the challenges is city planning – as outlined in “‘Character’ at risk” below.

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Character’ at risk

Thorndon houses

In 2020 Wellington City Council issued a Draft Spatial Plan. “The Spatial Plan is essentially a ‘blueprint’ for our city that sets out a plan of action for where and how we should grow and develop.”  The draft plan reduced current inner city “character” areas (where pre-1930 houses generally need a resource consent before demolishing) by 71%. We opposed this drastic reduction. You can read our submission below or click here.

The Council received over 3000 submissions and voted on a revised plan (which ‘only’ reduced character areas by 50%). However, the council voted to go back to the c. 71% loss of the draft plan in its District Plan. You can read more and see how each councillor voted in this Scoop article.

Ben Schrader, urban historian and HPW committee member, wrote this opinion piece on 1 July 2021. There has been further consultation on the Draft District Plan and Proposed District Plan. We have made submissions on all of these.

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In addition to our work on the buildings above (as noted on the relevant pages) we have made the following submissions; you can download a PDF copy by clicking the links.

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Victoria University of Wellington, which owns the Gordon Wilson Flats at 320 The Terrace, wishes to demolish the building. It is not currently habitable. A city council panel approved the proposal to take the Gordon Wilson flats off the council’s heritage list. The Architectural Centre appealed the decision. The decision from the Environment Court on Gordon Wilson Flats came out on 9 August 2017. The appeal by the Architectural Centre was allowed and Gordon Wilson Flats should not be taken off the Council’s heritage list.

Gordon Wilson Flats
Gordon Wilson Flats, late 1950s. The Terrace.

The decision noted that the appeal process had: “provided information that raises the heritage significance architecturally, socially and technically … of the GWF. Rather than diminishing the building’s heritage value … it has in fact strengthened the reasons for it to be listed” (at [51]). For more information about the Gordon Wilson Flats as architectural heritage, see the website of the Architectural Centre. And, also, on the DOCOMOMO NZ website.

July 2020: the university presented its plans for the site, which includes renovating the Maclean Flats but demolishing Gordon Wilson Flats. Here are a few articles about it. Stuff July 29 and Stuff 30 July; Scoop July 29.

Urban historian Ben Schrader gives a useful overview of the building’s history and significance on the Bay Heritage website here.

This photo shows the colour scheme in the 1970s (from NZ Architect, No. 5 1978):

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