Another stage in the Sarjeant Gallery project begins on Monday with a resource consent application hearing.

The application, lodged by the Wanganui District Council, seeks permission to earthquake strengthen the Queens Park gallery as well as extend it.

The extension includes a three-level addition to the existing building which covers 3635sq m. It also involves removing 10 protected trees to the north of the gallery, creating a new cafe and carrying out internal and external alterations to what is listed as a Class A heritage building.

The application has attracted 21 submissions. Most of them are from individuals, alongside those from Mainstreet Wanganui, the Sarjeant Gallery Trust, Heritage NZ and the Whanganui Regional Heritage Trust Board.


While all support the application, some have raised concerns. The heritage trust board wants the existing entrance to the gallery used all the time and not just for "ceremonial" occasions. And it said the removal of the 10 oak trees, planted in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War 1, was regrettable and the plan should include some replacement plantings. It also wants another six carparks added to the 20 included in the plan.

Mainstreet Wanganui said it was concerned about the trees tagged for removal and wants council to consider replacing them. It has also questions roading and parking provisions and wants better pedestrian access.

The hearing starts at 9am on Monday at the council office and will be heard by independent commissioner Christine Foster. The commissioner will reserve her decision.