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Christchurch City Council Media Release 10 March 2000

Councillor Horrified At Post Office Changes

A Christchurch City councillor says a proposal to alter three windows in the old Chief Post Office in Cathedral Square is cultural vandalism.

The chairwoman of the City Council’s environment Committee, Cr. Anna Crighton, said at a committee meeting yesterday that the proposal to lower and remove three windows on the north fašade of the group one building to be replaced by French doors horrified her.

"I am horrified that anyone should even be considering it. There is no need for this slash-and-burn attitude. It is cultural vandalism to do anything like this," she said.

She said she would oppose any consent application for the changes.

Council staff, the applicant (Parlante Design Group of Lyttelton) and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust are holding discussions "with respect to the detrimental effect such an alteration would have on the architectural aesthetic of this fašade," said an environment planner, John Dryden.

The committee was told that the building was of national heritage significance and was listed as group one under the City plan and category one under the Historic Places Act.

Cr. Crighton said such changes would not be allowed at the Arts Centre and "this building is in the same group of historic buildings."

She said the Bakehouse at the Arts Centre used a window as a serving hatch. That type of initiative was needed in this case.

Cr. Paddy Austin said that the city wanted activity in the Square and also needed to retain the building. "We must work with the applicant and not get heavy handed over this matter," she said.

The committee was also told that the Sydenham Rugby Football Club, the former Sydenham Borough Council Chambers building, at 303 Colombo Street, was the subject of an application for a demolition order.

The building was erected in 1902 to a design by William Wilson and sold to the football that has been a sporting body in the district since 1882.

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