Cathedral rebuild posed in court

Last updated 17:10 18/04/2013

Once-iconic Christ Church Cathedral is now surrounded by long grass and fences, its crumbled centre open to the elements.

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Christchurch will have another cathedral, but the remains of the building on the site have ceased to be a cathedral, the Court of Appeal heard today.

What is left of the Christ Church Cathedral in the central city had been deconsecrated and no longer fulfilled the purpose, so the trust in charge of the property now had to reassess what would best meet their need, lawyer Jared Ormsby said.

Ormsby was arguing for the Church Property Trustees to have a choice about the shape the next cathedral should take.

Three proposals have been put up: To rebuild, build the church to a similar design but in modern materials, or build a modern interpretation of the old cathedral.

The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust said the church trust did not have the power to take down what remained of the old building.

If accepted, this view would have the effect of compelling the trust to rebuild the church damaged in successive earthquakes.

Lawyer Francis Cooke QC said the church trust was set up to build a memorial to the zeal and faith of the settlers of Canterbury and it was obliged to maintain and preserve that building.

Three Court of Appeal judges reserved their decision after a hearing at Wellington today.

The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust had appealed against a High Court decision from last November that there had to be a cathedral on the site, but it did not have to replicate the one that stood before the quakes.

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