Barrier sites

The Council has a three-step approach in dealing with sites that are considered to be barriers to the regeneration of Central City. These sites are referred to as barrier sites.

If left unrepaired they can lead to negative perceptions of the city for visitors and investors and, in some cases, they disrupt the operation of the transport network.

We also want to encourage action to tidy up cleared vacant sites and gravel car parks. Litter, unmanaged vegetation and unmaintained hoardings paint a poor image of the city and undermine perceptions of personal safety, especially at night. 

Our approach

The Barrier Sites are separated into two categories:

  • sites where intentions are yet to be confirmed or are subject to insurance disputes and
  • sites with a commitment to action

Sites are considered to have a ‘commitment to action’ where plans and intentions for restoration and/or redevelopment are conveyed to the Council or plans to action a site are in motion i.e. project scoping.

Each Barrier Site has its own complex issues and so the decision as to whether it is removed from the Barrier Sites Programme is a judgement of the owner’s current intentions and actions. The types of matters that the Council will take into consideration include whether or not consents have been granted, whether works have commenced and whether the building owner has demonstrated reasonable progress in fulfilling a commitment to action.

The table below shows the way we will work with owners. The emphasis is on providing support and assistance. As a last resort, fees and enforcement action will be considered. 

Action, investment and regeneration

Dialogue, support and incentives
  • Direct contact and dialogue
  • Promoting existing incentives
  • Advisory support
  • Brokering
Adding pressure
  • Apply existing fees and charges
  • Review and adapt incentives, fees and charges
  • low-level enforcement
  • Promotion and engagement
Enforcement and regulation
  • Remediation notices
  • Abatement notices (including the ability to act and recharge cost)
  • Greater CHCH Regeneration Act (Power to undertake works, direct owners and acquire land)
  • Regeneration plans 

What are barrier sites?

We define barrier sites as: 

  • Unoccupied buildings which are in a very poor state of repair.
  • Cordoned sites and/or buildings which encroach into public footpaths or road space that affect traffic and pedestrian movement. Cordoned sites include those where propping or containers are used to support damaged buildings.
  • Sites where foundation work is required and which need to be fenced off for public safety.

Where are the Central City barrier sites?

This work is currently focused on Central City. An initial list of 30 properties(external link) was identified and, as progress is achieved, sites may be removed or re-categorised. A number of new sites have been added. 

The table below shows current sites and their status. The next update will be in March 2024. 

Key progress since the last update in March 2023 includes: 

  • 92 Lichfield Street (Sargoods)- With containers removed in December 2022, the Council was able to upgrade the street at this key bus exchange access point in the first half of 2023.  Repair of the building continues.
  • 170 Oxford Terrace (Former Noahs/Rydges hotel)- Work to reinstate the hotel expected to commence following demolition of the car park building and Worcester Street shops which is imminent.
  • 137 Cambridge Terrace (Harley Chambers) - New owners are working to obtain necessary consents for a new use on this prominent site.
  • 161 Hereford Street (Hereford Suites) - The owner, following new dialogue, has committed to tidying the building (including its extensive graffiti) and resolving the incomplete upper level pre-earthquake construction.


Sites with a commitment to action (13) 

Street Number Also known as
Lichfield Street 92 Sargoods
Oxford Terrace 170 Former Rydges Hotel
Tuam Street 179  Sol Square (part) 
Victoria Street 91 Victoria Mansions
Hereford Street 159 Malvern House
Worcester Street 116 Kaplan / State Insurance
Tuam Street 214 Odeon Theatre
High Street 141 Duncan's Buildings 
Cashel Street  226-234 Former IRD Premises 
Peterborough Street 25  Peterborough Centre / Apartments
Cashel Street 170 Former Holiday Inn
Cambridge Terrace  137 Harley Building
Hereford Street 161 Hereford Suites

Sites where the intentions are yet to be confirmed or are subject to an insurance dispute  (3)

Street Number Known as
Manchester Street 205 Blue Jean Cuisine 
Manchester Street 112–114 2 Fat Indians 
Armagh Street 119 Former PWC Building