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Mt Eden church not a risk to neighbouring properties

Published: 9 March 2018

Auckland Council engineers do not believe that St James Presbyterian Church and Sunday School Hall on Esplanade Road in Mount Eden is at risk of imminent collapse. 

The Category B rated heritage building is subject to a dangerous building notice issued by Auckland Council in April 2012 and requires further work to maintain its structural integrity and to make it safe for any future inhabitants.

Property developers associated with the building previously applied for a resource consent to demolish the building and develop the site, but this was declined by an independent commissioner in September 2017. The developers have since appealed this decision and this is currently sitting before the Environment Court. 

Auckland Council engineers have investigated the site and the owners of the church are aware of their obligations under health and safety legislation.

“We have also received independent expert advice stating that, with the exception of a significant earthquake, the Sunday school hall building is not at imminent risk of collapse nor is it beyond point of being safely repaired,” Auckland Council Manager Regulatory Compliance Steve Pearce says.

“We have investigated the structural integrity of both the interior and exterior of the building and have instructed our engineers to re-inspect the building to confirm that the situation has not changed.

“We are aware of the concerns of local residents following media reports and an anonymous letter drop campaign, and want to assure them that the building is not at imminent risk of collapse.

“We are continuing to monitor the building and will review the safety arrangements if the structural integrity of the building changes," Mr Pearce says.

“We take public safety extremely seriously which is why we issued the dangerous building notice in the first place.

“This is a difficult situation due to the historical status of the building. Auckland Council's heritage team has been consulted and they have advised they do not believe the building needs to be demolished, but that work can be carried out by the owners to make it safe.

“The building developers have a number of options available to them. Demolition is not the only option as there are alternative, creative solutions available.

“This is one of a number of heritage buildings across Auckland which has fallen in disrepair. In conjunction with our heritage team, we stand ready to assist property owners and developers of such buildings in exploring their options.”

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