Heritage advocates disappointed by decision to demolish Christchurch's Catholic cathedral

Heritage advocates are disappointed by the decision to demolish Christchurch's Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Category One heritage building was severely damaged during the Christchurch earthquakes and the bishop has deemed it too expensive to restore.  

Heritage advocate Anna Crighton tonight deeply disappointed with the Bishops decision not to save the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

"I was really quite shocked," said Crighton.

"The previous bishop, who unfortunately passed away, had decided to restore the cathedral so we've been lulled into a false sense of security... the new bishop has said he's going to demolish the cathedral so it means we have to now reset."

The Category One heritage building has sat in a state of disrepair for the last seven years. 

To save the nave would cost more than $90 million - a full restoration, nearly $150 million. 

"We tried to get a sounding board from different people, we're not running a referendum in the end as the bishop the decision rests with me," the bishop told Newshub.

Parishioners are accepting of the bishops decision, calling it a "big loss" and "sad occasion".

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel told Newshub she understands it's been a tough call for the bishop and there will be genuine sadness over the decision - but the Catholic Church does have the legal authority to demolish the building.

A new $40 million church could be built closer to the centre of the city near Victoria Square. 

"A new cathedral would never have the same significance as this one, you cannot replace heritage, memories, memorials and all the things that this cathedral represents with a new one... just can't happen," says Crighton.

The bishop is working with engineers and safety experts to allow parishioners to attend a special event to farewell the iconic cathedral.