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Heritage review in growth plans

Martinborough Hotel is part of Martinborough’s special character. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

A comprehensive targeted review of heritage places, buildings, and notable trees will be an integral part of the region’s future growth plans.

The Wairarapa Combined District Plan joint committee resolved at a meeting in Carterton on Wednesday to review work according to newly developed national standards.

The committee acknowledged the balance needed between preserving heritage places and allowing landowners to use their property.

The review would involve updating the list of heritage places and precincts, and consulting with landowners.

A committee spokesperson said the provisions were working well in general, but there was room for improvement.

“There’s work to do around updating the schedules. There are some properties that have been either demolished or moved or that perhaps don’t belong on the schedule anymore,” she said.

“There are probably others that need to be added, so the next step would be reviewing the schedule.

“We’ve got heritage items and we’ve got heritage precincts. We need to work out whether those still apply.

“There are some design guidelines for Greytown and South Wairarapa, and we need to be sure they are serving their intended purpose.”

Engagement with identified parties would be important.

Part of the process would involve assessing why some areas were heritage precincts, and some were not.

Committee chairman David McMahon said heritage provisions were district-wide rules that formed an overlay.

“Not only do you have to comply with the rules in the zone, but you have to comply with the district-wide rules as well,” he said.

“Possibly there needs to be some rationalisation as to what buildings and objects are on the heritage list and some discussion about heritage precincts and how they relate to character areas.”

The committee decided early engagement with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the Greytown Heritage Trust, Heritage Wairarapa, the Greytown Trust Lands Trust, and individual property owners was vital.

It was expected consultation would be one-on-one or in meetings with council officers. People would be asked if they thought the system effectively protected heritage and if changes were recommended.

They would also be asked if there was sufficient recognition of and protection for historic heritage resources in Wairarapa.

A report tabled at the meeting recognised heritage as an essential link with the past. It also acknowledged the insight provided by those buildings and places into how Wairarapa’s communities and settlements had developed.

“They also contribute to the character and amenity values of localities, particularly where there are neighbourhoods containing relatively numerous historic heritage buildings and features.

Historic resources are finite and can be vulnerable to disturbance, damage or destruction from land use,” the report stated.

“While the protection of Wairarapa’s historic heritage is important, it is also essential that properties with historic heritage values in private ownership can be used and upgraded by their owners.”

It stated some areas had significant historic heritage because of their character and buildings, many of which were not necessarily individually significant.

Examples of such ‘precincts’ included town centres in South Wairarapa and some older residential areas in Masterton.

Policies for notable trees would also be updated as part of this process.

Feedback from the consultation would be reported back to the committee, which would consider the matters.

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