Anglicans commission new poll on Christ Church Cathedral

The Christ Church Cathedral has been derelict in the city centre for six years.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

The Christ Church Cathedral has been derelict in the city centre for six years.

Anglican leaders have ordered another survey of how Christchurch residents feel about restoring the cathedral.

The new survey will be the latest in a long list of polls conducted in the city about the Christ Church Cathedral. There were two major surveys in 2013 and two more in 2014.

Church Property Trustees (CPT) general manager Gavin Holley wrote in an opinion piece that the survey was commissioned to "give us up-to-date information". CPT manages Anglican diocese buildings.

"Once the survey results are known they will be made public," he wrote.

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A Research First survey in April 2014 found more than 50 per cent of Cantabrians wanted a restored cathedral to retain the same look. A Press/Research First poll in September 2013 found 32 per cent of those polled preferred a modern cathedral, compared with just 15 per cent who wanted it fully restored. An online poll in April 2013 found about 40 per cent of people favoured a new, contemporary cathedral.

The new survey was dismissed as "clearly very spurious" by heritage campaigner and Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) co-chairman Philip Burdon. The group has been campaigning to restore the cathedral.

Burdon pointed to a survey commissioned by his group in 2014 that found 51 per cent of people wanted the cathedral restored, compared to 43 per cent who wanted it demolished and replaced with a new building.

"What are they achieving by doing another survey? The consequence is delay. What is their objective? It will probably extend the extreme frustration people feel about this.

"The most likely answer is people will say get on and do something. So, why not just get on and do something? It is clearly very spurious."

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The Government has offered a $10 million grant and $15m loan towards restoration of the cathedral, while the GCBT has promised to raise $15m.

The Anglican Church has about $42m in insurance money to put towards the restoration project, leaving about $30m left to raise.

CPT is "seriously considering" the Government offer.

Holley wrote that the policy for all Anglican buildings was that "the money must be in hand before the repair or build begins". He said the $15m loan offer was "unacceptable".​

 - Stuff

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