Thorndon Heritage Proposal

24 August 2009

We've come up with a plan to manage the unique character of Thorndon - one of New Zealand's oldest and most historic suburbs. This proposal, to introduce a heritage area, has come out of extensive consultation with the Thorndon community earlier this year.

We're now seeking wider views. A study of Thorndon by a team of experts in late 2008 revealed it has significant heritage values, and is regarded as one of New Zealand's oldest and most historic suburbs. Part of Thorndon is already identified as a character area in the District Plan.

The report said that despite the impact of the motorway in the 1970s and other changes, Thorndon still has an extraordinary collection of buildings including early cottages built in the 1860s and other 19th and 20th century buildings. In the experts' view, Thorndon's streetscapes have national importance because they are a unique remnant of the very early planned settlement of Wellington.

Many buildings also have connections with significant historical figures.

During the community consultation, Thorndon locals told us they want better management of their heritage 'streetscapes' and they said any new heritage provisions for the suburb should be tailored specifically for Thorndon. There were concerns, however, about the need to seek resource consent for minor works.

The heritage value of Thorndon is based on the 'collective value' of the suburb and the stories this can tell us about the city's early growth. The collective value includes the setting and landscape, the layout of streets, lanes and footpaths, subdivision patterns, buildings and structures, and gardens and open space.

Our approach takes account of the fact that Thorndon's heritage buildings generally face the street. They are built close to side boundaries and towards the front of the site. Rear yards are often not visible from the street. We propose to introduce a Thorndon heritage area in five separate parts, covering the majority of the residential portions of the suburb. In the areas identified as having specific heritage values, most minor property work will not require resource consent.

The additions and alterations that may require consent will include work that significantly impacts on what people see from the street. In particular, work that alters or lifts the roofline of a building will require resource consent. A resource consent will also be required for work on the front, or street elevation, of the building, or where significant features of a building are removed or modified.

We will prepare provisions for the District Plan to provide design guidance and clarity for building owners. These will be written specifically for Thorndon to take account of the unique heritage values of the suburb.

We're asking for your feedback on this proposal. The public consultation starts today and closes at 5.00pm, Friday 6 November. For more information or a feedback form, refer to the links below or contact Vivien Rickard, Principal Heritage Advisor, phone (04) 803 8122 or email vivien.rickard@wcc.govt.nz.