Consent woes stall bank building restoration

By Lin Ferguson -
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HISTORIC BEAUTY: The restoration of the former BNZ building in Marton is 'magnificent', says Rangitikei mayor Andy Watson. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
HISTORIC BEAUTY: The restoration of the former BNZ building in Marton is 'magnificent', says Rangitikei mayor Andy Watson. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

Despite painstaking and careful restoration of a historic bank building in Marton, Auckland owner Steve Quinn's progress has now been stymied by red tape.

He and wife Christine bought the old BNZ building earlier this year.

Their renovations retained the front section of the building downstairs, with the original bank chambers set aside for continued business use. The rest of the building will be two quality apartments, both within the permitted residential zone.

However, this means the original use of the building is now considered altered and goes against its building resource consent.

Rangitikei Mayor Andy Watson said if it were possible for council to "grant exemptions" from such issues he would "willingly do it".

"Steve is a wonderful man, superb to deal with and he has used all local tradesmen.

They have done a magnificent job ... the work is top class, there have been no shortcuts. It is absolutely beautiful."

The two apartments, one upstairs and one down, are quite different, he said.

"One is in period design and the other is contemporary style."

Mr Watson said the council was seeking specialist advice on the building to help Mr Quinn.

"For instance, we'll be talking to the fire service and ensuring there is nothing in this building that will put people at risk.

Mr Quinn said, as far as he was concerned, the building was now a perfectly serviceable heritage build.

"It will contribute to the function of the Marton CBD for at least the next 100 years," he said.

Mr Watson said council was helping with discretion of some consenting costs and a possible rate reduction as the building work continued.

Mr Quinn has also written to the council for help.

"We are hoping that central government assistance also may be available," he said.

Mr Watson said council would be pulling out all the stops to help Mr Quinn.

"I will also be talking to Heritage Minister Maggie Barry and will try to persuade her to come to Marton and see this beautiful heritage building first-hand," he said.

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