Independent commissioners have turned down an application by the University of Canterbury to build a music school at the Christchurch arts centre.
In a decision issued on Friday, the commissioners said that the proposed National Conservatorium of Music building would be too visually dominant and detract from the rest of the arts centre.
The Save Our Arts Centre group says the decision is a victory for heritage values.
The university says it is unlikely to challenge the ruling.
Arts Centre disappointed
The director of the Christchurch Arts Centre, Ken Franklin, says he's surprised and disappointed by the decision.
The University of Canterbury had proposed borrowing $24 million from the Christchurch City Council to build a music school at the historic site.
However, commissioners have denied resource consent for the proposal, saying the 16m high building would detract from the rest of the Arts Centre.
But Mr Franklin says it's very disappointing, as the conservatorium would have been a "fabulous" amenity for the city.
He says there is still a long term goal to develop the site of the proposed conservatorium, which is now a carpark.