Hope for McLean's Mansion salvage

22:01, Jul 18 2013
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HOPE: McLean's Mansion, a historic Christchurch homestead slated for demolition.

The head of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) says there is still time to save McLean's Mansion, a historic Christchurch homestead slated for demolition.

"We are in no hurry to have the place pulled down," Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said yesterday.

"If parties come to us and say they have plans to save it, we will be very keen to see those plans happen."

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

The mansion was built in 1890 for wealthy Scottish immigrant Allan McLean and is listed as a category 1 heritage building by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. It is set on two hectares, has 53 rooms and was believed at the time to be the largest wooden residence built in New Zealand.

Sutton said the section 38 (demolition) notice issued for the property did not mean it had to come down immediately, and there was still time for heritage campaigners to come up with a plan to save it.

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Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund chairwoman Anna Crighton said she was heartened by Sutton's remarks and felt more confident now the building could be saved.

There was strong community support for its retention, and groups were working on options for saving it.

"I have never had so many people contacting me to say how much they love [a] building - apart from the cathedral," Crighton said.

The Press