Court paves way for cathedral demolition

SEEING THE CITY: A tourist photographs the damaged Christ Church Cathedral.
SEEING THE CITY: A tourist photographs the damaged Christ Church Cathedral.

The stay of execution for the quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral in Christchurch has been lifted.

Justice Graham Panckhurst released findings today lifting the stay on deconstruction of the cathedral.

In March 2012, the Church Property Trustees (CPT) resolved to deconstruct the cathedral down to a level of two to three metres.

In November 2012, the High Court halted the planned demolition after the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) sought a binding ruling on whether the Anglican diocese's plans breached an act of Parliament protecting church buildings.

Justice Lester Chisholm found that the terms the CPT held the cathedral under required them to maintain a cathedral on the site, but not necessarily the cathedral as it was before the earthquakes.

Justice Chisholm ordered a stay on deconstruction until the CPT committed to build a cathedral, of any design.
The Court of Appeal overturned the decision and in December, the Supreme Court declined a GCBT appeal.

However, the stay of demolition remained.

In September last year, the CPT decided to deconstruct the cathedral and build a new cathedral with a contemporary design.

Under that condition, the CPT requested the High Court lift the stay - which Justice Panckhurst has done.
In the decision, Justice Panckhurst said the CPT had given fair consideration to the issues before deciding to deconstruct and build a new, contemporary cathedral.

Because there was no evidence of improper motive in CPT's decision, it was not for the court to decide which design a cathedral should be rebuilt in.

The diocese has said it wants to build a modern cathedral in Cathedral Square within 10 years.

The Press