Proud of our Heritage

If our buildings could talkā€¦ They would definitely have more than their fair share of stories to tell. Etched in brick, concrete or wood are the stories of their residents and surrounding neighbourhood. Take for instance, the Central Court building on the corner of Empire and Duke Street in Cambridge.

Text Box: Image courtesy of: Price, William Archer, 1866-1948 : Collection of post card negatives. Ref: 1/2-000896-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22477190The building was first built in 1877 by Mr J. Hally and was christened the "Criterion Hotel". Further down the track, the name would be changed to the "Central Hotel" in January 1908. There was always "a careful groom" in attendance for guests, and you could grab a luncheon for one shilling.

The guests who visited this hotel were also within walking distance of a fairly large brewery where the Webb Trust block of buildings currently reside. Funnily enough, Empire Street was formerly named Brewery Street.

As the hotel itself had a liquor license, there is no doubt there would have been a few interesting nights at the Criterion Hotel.

Image courtesy of: The Cambridge Museum
However, on the 3rd of July 1926, the fire bells went off. On that day the building went up in a blaze. It took 2 hours for the firefighters to put it out. But in the end, the top story had been eaten by the flames.

Perhaps someone had one too many drinks and accidently dropped their cigarette. Or maybe the kitchen caught fire. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

But not too soon after that fire, the building was rebuilt in 1927 from the plans created by James T Douce for 9200 pounds. Instead of timber, the new Central Hotel building was constructed with brick and plaster.

Image courtesy of: Price, William Archer, 1866-1948 : Collection of post card negatives. Ref: 1/2-000896-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Then in 1977, the Central Hotel was converted into the building we now know with shops on the bottom floor.

It is now referred to as the Central Court building with the boutique shops on the bottom, and various firms, such as KTB Planning, on the upper floor.

The Central Court building is an important physical representation of the history of Cambridge. It is also something that the community in Cambridge can point to and be proud as it is entrenched in the town's distinctive character.

In order to preserve this building, amongst the many other historic buildings in Cambridge, mechanisms need to be put in place. As such, in recognition of this need, there is the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014. Both of these Acts work hand in hand to ensure that New Zealand's heritage is protected against inappropriate use or development.

Under the Resource Management Act 1991, the Waipa District Council have recognised the importance of the Central Court building to the community and has listed it as a Category B Heritage Building. A Category B Heritage Building is a building that is of regional and district wide significance. What this means is that the building's maintenance and re-use would be encouraged. In addition, it would be protected from inappropriate alterations or demolition. So don't fret, it's not going anywhere!

The team of planning experts at KTB Planning regularly help owners of heritage buildings to identify the risks and opportunities for re-development.


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