2 Dec 2010

Owner stops council clearing site of demolished hotel

6:46 pm on 2 December 2010

The owner of the demolished Palace Hotel in Auckland has forced a halt to work being carried out by the council.

Michael Chow has enforced trespass notices on the Auckland Council, security and construction crews on the downtown site.

The Palace Hotel was demolished overnight on Wednesday under council orders after it began to collapse during refurbishment in November.

Just before midday on Thursday, Mr Chow used cars to block contractors in a bid to halt rubble from being cleared away.

He says the council has told him he will have to pay for the demolition in November, which he believes is unfair.

The council says all engineers and experts who have examined the area agree that the site is dangerous due to the rubble and the risk of subsidence, and needs to be cleared as quickly as possible.

It says it is at a loss to understand why the Chow brothers appear so determined to prevent the council from making the site safe for the public.

Mr Chow says he is considering legal action against the council over the demolition.

The council is not releasing an initial report prepared on the cause of the collapse.