Trust takes legal action over railway station sale

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The future of the Oamaru Railway Station remains in limbo with the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust taking legal action against the new buyers of the historic station.

“The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust had an unconditional sale for the Oamaru Railway Station. The deposit was paid as per the contract. The settlement has not taken place as per the contract and the board are taking legal action,” Whitestone Civic Trust chairman Peter Garvan said yesterday.

Mr Garvan would not comment further.

While the name of the buyer and the purchase price remain confidential, the sale went unconditional on Thursday July 24. The official handover period was expected to take place in late September, sixty days after the sale.

The trust received a conditional offer on May 22 from a North Island buyer who has a heritage background and from here he was offered a 20 day due diligence period which ended on June 22. The railway station was sold unconditionally a month later.

A conditon of the sale was that the buyer could not demolish the building and had to maintain the building’s identity.

The railway station, which was built in 1900, was designed by the New Zealand Railway Department architect George Troup, who also designed the Dunedin Railway Station.

The trust has advised that the proceeds from the sale would be set aside for specific major projects and acquisitions.

It had been expected the sale of the railway station would be completed in June, but due diligence was granted to the buyer.

Oamaru’s historic railway station is a category two historic building and under the sales agreement, it cannot be demolished and the exterior features and appearance must remain the same.

Donna Demente, who was one of at least eight tenants, in the building said she is extremely annoyed off with the trust.

“I’m really pissed off and ashamed that they went along and sold it, because it was full of tenants and they would’ve been making something from it out of the rent.”

PHOTO: Whitestone Civic Trust Chairman Peter Garvan outside the Oamaru Railway Station.