Otago Daily Times
Facade demolition backed
DUNEDIN city council planners have recommended consent for the demolition of the former Cadbury factory be granted, as the public benefit of the new hospital to be built on the site outweighs the historic value of the buildings.
However, the final decision on the Ministry of Health’s demolition application remains to be made by an independent commissioner.
The ministry wants to demolish the factory — a category 2 historic place — to make way for one of two buildings which would comprise a new Dunedin hospital.
Commissioner Gary Rae said none of the submitters now wanted to be heard, so his planned hearing day — November 2 — would be replaced by a site visit and the hearing of evidence on specific, limited points.
In her report, DCC planner Karen Bain said while the Cadbury building had considerable historical significance, evidence from the ministry — which the council had had independently reviewed — said that to try to keep the Cumberland St facades of the factory would ‘‘critically impact upon’’ the construction feasibility and functionality of the hospital.
‘‘The costs involved and compromises to the efficacy of the hospital would outweigh the benefits gained from retaining the heritage facades,’’ Ms Bain said.
‘‘I consider that if a new hospital is to be established on the subject sites, adverse effects on heritage values cannot realistically be avoided.
‘‘Clearly, providing for a new hospital is an exceptional circumstance and, as such, the proposal is not considered to represent a challenge to the integrity of the district plan.’’
A report commissioned from engineering firm WSP by the ministry explored the feasibility and cost of six different possible ways to retain the facades, and found to do so would cost between $32 million and $74 million.
The DCC engaged engineers Stantec to review that work, and it found WSP might have understated the challenge.
‘‘There will be significant sections of the facade which are structurally independent from the adjacent hospital building . . . we believe the WSP report and addendum does not stress just how difficult and expensive this would be.’’
Retention also posed aesthetic and functionality issues, including the facade not aligning with the windows and floors of the hospital building.
Stantec put the costs of the two most likely options to retain the facades at $47 million and $63.8 million respectively — although subsequent changes to the hospital design meant the latter option would probably cost more.
The report of DCC heritage adviser Andrea Farminer said the Cadbury factory was highly significant, and demolition would have a major adverse heritage affect.
Dr Farminer rated the value of the buildings higher than the Ministry of Healthcommissioned heritage impact assessment, and said they were of regional and national significance.
She said the facades of both Cumberland St structures had moderate to high architectural significance, and that nowhere else in Dunedin were there similar expanses of industrial modernist buildings.
The plant as a whole had a high cultural value due the longevity of Cadbury’s operations in Dunedin.
‘‘The proposal for the retention of the c1875 dairy building/machine house, which has been carried through into the application as a proposed condition of consent, offers only a very small scale of mitigation when compared against the scale of loss of the whole of the scheduled facades and their values,’’ Dr Farminer said.