Bringing back verandah posts in Wanganui's inner city may not seem such a big deal, but it's a move that has public safety at its core.

The Wanganui District Council has signalled a planned change to its district plan which would see verandah posts reinstated on commercial buildings as a permitted activity.

Jonathan Barrett, the council's principal planner, told the Chronicle the posts were the target of planners in previous councils around the time the central city traffic flows and parking zones underwent major change.

Mr Barrett said at the time the posts were seen to be interfering with parking and also a hazard to pedestrians, so the district plan was changed.


But after the Christchurch earthquakes, verandah posts are seen as key to pedestrian safety, providing protection from facades falling off buildings above them.

He said reinstating the posts was also seen by the city's earthquake taskforce as a "quick fix" for what could be an issue if a major quake struck Wanganui.

"Having the verandah posts reinstated is certainly more in keeping with the inner-city streetscape," Mr Barrett said.

"You only have to look at the refurbished Rutland Hotel on the corner of the Avenue and Ridgway St, with its fluted cast-iron columns, to get an appreciation of how good they can look."

Called "proposed change 32", it seeks to address what council officers say are contradictory provisions in the district plan. So while the present rule restricts the use of verandah posts, central city design guidelines encourage them.

Many central city building verandahs were supported by posts but most of these were removed and the verandahs cantilevered to the buildings using tie rods.

Mr Barrett said the posts help reduce structural loads on buildings and are now seen to be in keeping with the character of the inner-city streetscape.

Public submissions close with the council on October 11.