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Call for Christchurch Cathedral demolition order scrutiny

Friday 16 Nov 2012 8:53 a.m.

Some demolition of the cathedral was done in May

Some demolition of the cathedral was done in May

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Labour is welcoming the High Court ruling that has stopped the demolition of Christchurch Cathedral.

The party's culture and heritage spokesman, Charles Chauvel, says the destruction of the city's historic buildings has been going on largely unnoticed and that has to change.

"The cathedral decision is significant because it will call attention to the widespread use - and potential abuse - by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority of notices issued under its empowering legislation to authorise the demolition of many of Canterbury's historic buildings," he says.

Mr Chauvel is urging Cantabrians to contact their local MPs if they are concerned so demolition orders can be taken up in Parliament.

Thursday's High Court ruling ordered the planned demolition and deconstruction of earthquake-damaged cathedral to be stopped until further notice.

The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust went to the High Court in October saying the cathedral's owner was breaching a 2003 Act protecting church buildings, and that it had a moral and legal responsibility to save it.

Justice Lester Chisholm granted a judicial review of the decision to partially deconstruct and partially demolish the church.

No date has been set for the judicial review.

The church's owner, Church Property Trustees, decided in March to bring the building down to a level of two to three metres to meet safety standards.

Apart from the deconstruction of what remained of the tower in April and May, no major steps had been taken to implement that decision.


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