Music groups plan to use McLean's Mansion

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 23/07/2013
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HOPE: McLean's Mansion, a historic Christchurch homestead slated for demolition.

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Christchurch's displaced music groups are eying a century old mansion under threat of demolition as a potential new home.

McLean's Mansion, a wooden homestead hidden away in the central city between Manchester and Colombo streets, has been earmarked for demolition by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) because its owners, Andrew and Scott Murray, say they have exhausted all avenues for funding the substantial repair costs.

The house, built in 1900 for wealthy Scottish immigrant Allan McLean, is listed as a category 1 heritage building by the Historic Places Trust. It has 53 rooms and was once the largest wooden residence in New Zealand.

The mansion's rooms were used as classrooms before the quakes.

Don Whelan, the vice-president of the Civic Music Council, yesterday confirmed McLean's Mansion was being eyed as a potential music centre, but said planning was still in its early stages.

The quakes had left Christchurch with a shortage of music rooms and both the Christchurch School of Music (CSM) and the Civic Music Council (CMC) were currently operating from makeshift facilities - the CSM was in a "horrible little warehouse" in Waltham, while the CMC was in "an apology for a shed in the wilds of Sockburn".

"You need rooms to make music in and we have not got any rooms," Whelan said.

Last week Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said the authority would happily consider any plans to save McLean's Mansion.

"We are in no hurry to have the place pulled down. If parties come to us and say they have plans to save it, we will be very keen to see those plans happen."

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