High Court halts cathedral demolition

7:15 pm on 15 November 2012

The High Court at Christchurch has granted an application to halt the demolition of the quake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral.

In a ruling released on Thursday, the court ruled demolition should stop until further notice.

It also declared that while a cathedral is required on the site, the building does not have to replicate the one that stood before the earthquakes.

A recent photo of the remains of ChristChurch Cathedral.

A recent photo of the remains of ChristChurch Cathedral. Photo: RNZ

The Great Christchurch Building Trust went to court in October to seek a declaratory judgement to prevent the church demolishing the heritage building.

The trust, led by former MP Jim Anderton, argued that under the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch Church Protection Trust Act 2003, the church was obliged to repair and maintain the cathedral.

The trust said the church had an obligation to the general public given the long history of public money that has been poured into the cathedral.

The Anglican Church argued the building needed to be deconstructed to make it safe in accordance with a notice from the Canterbury Earthquake Authority.

Trust's reaction

Trust co-chair Philip Burdon says he believes the ruling means the insurance money has to be put toward the rebuild of a cathedral and the church trustees will now have to take into account a number of caveats they previously ignored.

"We will get a rebuild no doubt of the cathedral and the issue is simply how much of the old cathedral is incorporated in the replacement cathedral, or the rebuild, call it whatever words you like to use."

Church's reaction

Bishop Victoria Matthews says the church will take time to consider all aspects of the decision.

But she says the church is committed to building a new cathedral on the site, and will continue with plans for a new building.

"What we will do next is give the commitment to the court that we've been asked to make, which is we will be building a new cathedral. I am very happy to do that and at that point will take whatever the next step is to look at what is required to carefully deconstruct the remains of the cathedral."