Christchurch CBD owners unhappy with council plan

9:09 pm on 19 September 2011

Property owners in central Christchurch say they will be forced to spend their insurance payments in other cities if changes are not made to the council's draft central city plan.

Submissions on the plan closed on Friday with a number calling for changes to a height limit of seven stories for new buildings and restrictions on cars in the central city.

Land owners spoken to say millions of dollars previously tied up in Christchurch property could soon go to other New Zealand centres or overseas unless changes are made to the central city plan.

They say the most contentious aspect of the plan is a restriction on high rise developments.

CORE, a property owners group, says business interruption insurance is running out in the next few months for many affected by the February earthquake and the clock is ticking on encouraging them to stay.

Spokesman Ernest Duval says height restrictions should be removed and incentives for land owners expanded to all of those operating in the central city.

Central City Business Association chairman and property owner Antony Gough says the height restrictions are forcing him to look elsewhere.

Mr Gough says modern high rises can be built to allow for extra light and to fit in with their surroundings.

Mayor Bob Parker concedes some property owners will shift out of the CBD but insists the council must stay focused on helping to rebuild a central city that all residents can enjoy.

Mr Parker says any owners with existing buildings above seven storeys will be allowed to continue to operate their high rises, and any new skyscrapers will simply require resource consent.

He says there is no way of avoiding the flight of a certain number of property owners from the city and the draft plan will be altered over coming months before the final version is written up.