New proposed Erskine development: what’s changed since 1992?

Another plan has been put forward to earthquake strengthen and restore the chapel of the Sacred Heart in Island Bay Wellington.

The plan is part of a  proposed $30 million 94-townhouse development.

Councillor Andy Foster, chairman of the transport and urban development committee, said early estimates that put the costs of the houses between $500,000 and $700,000 might appeal to first-home buyers.

Previous owners of the Erskine site, the Hibernian Catholic Benefit Society put forward a plan to build and sell houses for under $1000,000 and also to preserve the grounds and save the chapel says a former manager of the Hibernians in a letter to the editor in Saturday’s DomPost.

He asks why Foster opposed that plan.

Councillor Nichola Young, who is an alumna of Erskine College, when asked to comment said that because of the the earthquakes in Christchurch, “seismic issues very different now.”

The Erskine complex was purchased by the Hibernians in 1986.

They  parcelled off land around the edges of the site and sold it for residential housing.

The Hibernian Society planned to eventually develop the Erskine site as a retirement village.

In 1992, however, the Hibernian Society submitted an application for resource consent to strengthen the chapel walls, which would be needed if the other part of the proposed work was carried out: the demolition of the main convent building.

This proposal stirred up a huge amount of feeling amongst the community. and gave rise to the formation of the  Save Erskine College Trust.

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Reaction to the present proposal.

In response to an inquiry the Save Erskine College Trust Inc said, ” a general statement will be made via our website and/or Facebook in due course”

Island Bay Residents Association president Vicki Greco said the association was pleased the Cassels’ company had decided to make plans available.

It would allow the community to talk about any issues that arose around the plans she said.

Heritage NZ central region general manager Claire Craig said the organisation hoped to maintain a “constructive dialogue” with Cassels about his proposal.

“We also look forward to hearing the views that the council, as decision maker, receives as feedback from the community on the proposal for the chapel and the removal of the main building.”

A council spokesman said it received a formal application for the development only last week.

“Our planners still have several weeks in which to consider the application – which is complex. If consent is given, then the developer will have 12 months to get the project under way.”

The Erskine College site was declared a special housing area in April 2015.

The 2013 Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act stipulates a streamlined consenting timeframe, including a reduction in notification provisions and appeal rights.


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