Devonport Heritage is disturbed by the implications of an interim decision by the Unitary Plan independent Hearings Panel that special character or historic areas of Auckland may not be eligible for protection under the Unitary Plan.
This view has shocked Auckland's heritage groups who submitted for stronger protection for heritage buildings.
Instead the Hearings Panel says the council planners have erred in changing the terminology for heritage areas from 'character' to 'historic heritage'.
The panel therefore says the overlays that were designed to protect heritage areas will not work unless there are cumbersome plan changes to all these areas.
The panel says the Council and all it's legal advisors have used the incorrect section of the resource management act to achieve protection of historic suburbs.
We are still trying to understand the implications of the panel's decision.
It may simply be a matter of wording change back to 'special character', or it may require the full analysis and plan change that the panel have referred to if the council stand by their present stance.
We feel we have been let down by council and the panel, and also by the weakening of the Resource Management Act that has watered down protection for heritage.
We will keep you posted.