Protected Heritage Buildings Make Up Just 00.25% Of The Total Christchurch Building Stock

Historic Places Canterbury has data that backs strong public arguments for Heritage Retention

The following article appeared in the HPA Oculus September 2019 Newsletter.

Historic Places Canterbury (HPC) has found that only just one quarter of one percent of the total number of Christchurch Buildings have heritage protection.

Historic Places Canterbury using the Christchurch City Council data has found that scheduled Heritage Buildings (under the District Plan) make up a risible and paltry 00.25% of the total number of Christchurch Buildings.

In the Christchurch Central Business District we found the Heritage Buildings make up just 5.5% of the total number of buildings. (This percentage will drop significantly as new buildings are built on the empty sites.)

HPC considers that having such statistics is a great public talking point in any Public Debate about Built Heritage.

Firstly, we can authoritatively refute any claims, made or implied, that there are too many heritage buildings being protected. It would be hard to argue 00.25% is anything but a very small number.

Secondly, we can argue that as we have so few protected Heritage Buildings, authorities and developers should be protecting them as they are quantifiably rare in number. Taking as an example the CBD with 5.5% being Heritage Buildings means that 94% of the Buildings have no protection and can be developed.

Thirdly, we can argue that as the number and percentage is so low and are qualitatively rare, the Christchurch City Council and Heritage New Zealand should be vigorously defending any attempts to demolish protected Built Heritage.

Fourthly, as our Built Heritage is so scarce, the Christchurch City Council (and HNZ) should be making a real effort to add suitable Heritage Buildings to the District Plan for protection HPC respectfully suggests that Historic Places Aotearoa's Membership Organisations conduct a similar exercise.

Such statistics (or raw numbers) can be used to rebut the Developers’ public arguments against protecting a heritage building as it shows there is often a local abundance of unprotected buildings they can focus on and leave the precious few Heritage Buildings alone.

In addition using a specific local statistic provides a strong argument as to why local councils (and Heritage New Zealand) should be working harder to protect and save unequalled local heritage at hearings etc and by increasing the number of buildings being scheduled/listed.

If local statistics were collated, these local percentages provide great arguments for HPA and its Membership Organisations to lobby MPs and Councillors. Heritage Buildings are quantifiably rare treasures so they should have more protection and we should not be complacent in increasing the number which are protected.

It is also worth noting, it appears, based on the Christchurch numbers, that despite being a very small percentage of the total number of Buildings, Listed Heritage has a (huge) disproportionate influence on our Tourism marketing and City/Town/District's marketing identity and branding.

The following are the raw numbers for Christchurch:Christchurch has scheduled 573 Heritage Buildings from a total of 22,3927 Christchurch Buildings in Total (within its TLA boundary) i.e. 0.25%

The Christchurch CBD has 127 Scheduled Heritage Buildings.The Christchurch CBB has in total 2,579 Buildings ie only 5.5% are protected.

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