The proliferation of binge drinking and big noise in Henderson’s Lichfield Lane development and general nuisance prohibits quiet inner city living.

When a noted and influential New Zealand architect speaks out on urban matters, then I listen. Peter Beaven is a man who knows what he’s talking about.

This is what Beaven had to say on the ‘Henderson affair’, in a letter published in today’s Press newspaper:

The scandalous purchase by Christchurch City Holdings of the five central city sites owned by struggling developer Dave Henderson is defended by the Mayor as a vital move to protect the city centre sites from inappropriate development that could jeopardise plans to regenerate central Christchurch.

The council’s ability to allow every big box development in the outer areas contributed to the inner city decline, and its inability to create a City Plan that allows real urban design for the inner city makes this a hollow excuse indeed.

The proliferation of binge drinking and big noise in Henderson’s Lichfield Lane development and general nuisance prohibits quiet inner city living.

Is this the appropriate development that Parker is looking for?

I was involved in a recent development plan for one of Henderson’ sites, and the market value of the site was estimated then at only 60 percent of the stated price Christchurch City Holdings has just paid.

Further, Tony Marryatt, the council’s CEO, says the Henderson site at $4 million cost is sweetened by the inclusion of $6 million for plans and resource consents.

In a long career I have never even imagined getting fees and consents at one and a half times the land value.

This is Alice in Wonderland. We need a rigorous inquiry into all this.


  1. Good post dude, although I guess Peter Bevan is conservative.
    People who rave on about SOL and Poplar street need to see it.
    Its about booze.
    I heard Peter Townsend backing down on CTV tonight.
    He was saying what a visionary thing SOL and Poplar street is, but they still had 11 questions.
    Garbage. Eventually I guess Marryatt will give claptrap answers.
    Bob can't .
    He's restricted to one thought at a time.

    In the end we have to find a new Mayor and Councillors, and now is the time to pick and back them.
    This is not easy. Christchurch usually picks new Mayor from existing Councillors.

    Who will you have?

    Sincerely, Paul Scott

  2. was great to read Peter Beavans letter as someone in his position has to have guts to say this stuff. Good on him.
    There must be a lot of other people in similar positions who are not speaking up but the more who do the more chance Bob can get chucked out before were stuck with this corrupt and elitist council for two more years.

  3. [i]quote: In the end we have to find a new Mayor and Councillors, and now is the time to pick and back them.
    This is not easy. Christchurch usually picks new Mayor from existing Councillors.[/i]

    The lack of candidates of any real ability for Council positions is probably the biggest problem facing Chch.

    Why is it? The money seems to be adequate, but are people of any integrity just so disillusioned by the years of mismanagement that they regard Council (just like the CBD) as "too far gone" to be able to be restored to a properly functioning democratic institution?

    I do see Yani as one to be watched - I think he will poll very highly if he seeks re-election, but youth still precludes him from being a mayoral candidate. yet?

  4. I expect that the most we can hope for is the government intervening, sacking the mayor & council & appointing a statutory manager. I seem to remember their having done this with health boards & the like that cocked things up or were caught with their or their mates' fists in the till already. Far from ideal, but at least a way of dislodging this cockroach Henderson and his ilk from access to OUR rates money.

  5. Peter Beaven does tend to come from a somewhat olde-worlde standpoint, and would probably not want to see much noise in a city, at all, but he does hint at another glaring failure of Council's, and one which they have been aware of at senior staff level for many years, but have still failed to do anything about addressing.

    On the one hand, Council touts "visions" of mixed residential use in the CBD, but on the other they have done nothing to reflect or accommodate the fact that other uses will be noisy, and that a balance has to be struck between that and "a peaceful night's sleep"

    Wellington is a good 10 years ahead of Christchurch, and carried out substantial studies which culminated in a myriad of building standard controls in order to minimise noise conflicts between the various activities in a city. Hence, Wellington went from dreary city of suits, to vibrant night-time capital.

    Henderson, with typical hypocrisy, has engaged in phoning in noise-control complaints regarding what he perceives as competitive businesses in the city, but he soon found out that this was a double-edged sword. What a great example, though, of how the man operates. Libertarian when it suits, but not when he can use the system.

    Fact is, if Council chose to enforce the present noise by-laws, almost every bar in the city would be closed by next Saturday night. Instead, they are selective in their enforcement, which of course opens the door even further for potential allegations of corruption and bias, especially given "the extremely close relationship" that somebody like Henderson has with the Mayor.

  6. Peter Beaven highlights Parker's bluster about protecting the 'inner city', when 'big boxes' have been allowed to be built all over the outer city.

    I would add that I haven't heard Parker raising a fuss about the destruction that greedy property developers have been wreaking in the surburbs. Character houses have been wiped out to be replaced by cheap and nasty concrete blocks masquerading as 'townhouses'.

    In fact Parker is an advocate of 'in-filling' - yet there is absolutely no protection in place to protect us from the monstrosities that have built in recent years. The Christchurch City Council has rubberstamped all these urban disasters.

    Of course Parker has a nice wee place in Akaroa - not a concrete block in sight!

    And why on earth will people want to live in the central city if they are going to be subject to noise and loutish behaviour?

    And - yes - just how can land fees/resource consents etc be worth one and half times more than the land itself?

  7. Steven what happens in the suburbs is not relevennt to the problem of inner city relitalisation, which is a lack of people. Retailers move to the suburbs for many reasons and the only way to stop this is to stop suburban retail development. ok we all accept this isnt going to happen and reality is there is not much can stop it so we need to concentrate on solutions for the central city. Bevan was discussing the central city. There are currently a lot of people living in central christchurch and i havent heard of people stating they have packed up and moved to the suburbs as a result of noise and loutish behaviour. A well thought out plan could easily solve this, if it is a problem.


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