Should councils and government interfere with the rights and intentions of private property owners? On Radio NZ’s Sunday Morning programme today Chris Laidlaw discussed the issues surrounding heritage architecture with architects Marshall Cook and Jeremy Salmond. And campaigner Allan Matson explained some of the legal issues that can help or hinder the preservation of historic buildings.

A now familiar (to those in Thorndon following the residential heritage conversation) range of questions arose and opinions shared. Here are some snippets (follow the link above to hear their context):

  • Have we got the rules right?
  • What is the right division of responsibility?
  • Is it an issue of selective keeping?
  • Is it subjective and hard to sort the value from the dramatic?
  • Can you really have hard and fast rules?
  • New buildings should be better than those they replace.
  • The villa doesn’t have any particular intrinsic value; it’s out of date with contemporary lifestyles.
  • Will we see villas gradually replaced?
  • All about streetscape and quality of the street too – walls, footpaths, cars, trees, etc.
  • Evolution rather than revolution.
  • Don’t freeze things in time.
  • Link between garden city suburb and the city is important.
  • How many modern buildings can you put into a traditional suburb and then still call it a traditional suburb?
  • When constraints are placed on a precinct then it becomes a political issue. Planning, property, and the value of land lead inevitably to it being a political issue.
  • Private property rights are sacrosanct.
  • Can a urban design panel have sufficient opinion to influence their Commissioners?
  • It seems that heritage is a legitimate part of town planning but it is a retrospective act … it is always evaluating by looking back.
  • It is important to keep mobility in thinking.
  • Is a regulatory shakeup needed?
  • We’re always in transition.

We look forward to seeing what Wellington’s regulators are thinking when their report is made public early in August.