Restoration plan proposed for Christchurch Cathedral

A  $55 million plan to restore Christchurch Cathedral has been put forward by heritage campaigners.

Marcus Brandt put his restoration design before a 50-strong crowd at the Court Theatre on Sunday. He called it  “The People’s Steeple”.

Brandt, who  has been restoring historic structures for 30 years, said the cathedral was the most controversial heritage project he had ever worked on.

“Anywhere in the world this would be a no-brainer. It wouldn’t be in the news headlines because it would just be restored,” he said.

In his plans, an “earthquake-resistant timber spire” the same size and shape as the original, would be erected in three sections like an extending telescope. The spire would be hoisted into place by thousands of Cantabrians and would be “therapeutic” for the city.

He also offered restoration plans for the “wounded”, but not shattered, cathedral. By shoring it up from the outside and slowly securing and tightening the stones from the bottom up, he believed the building could be restored to its former glory without anyone having to go inside.

He estimated the project would cost up to $55m and said it could be completed “with the bells ringing” by 2014, the third anniversary of the earthquake.

But a Press survey reveals that most Cantabrians polled want Christ Church Cathedral demolished, 54 per cent of those polled favouring demolition and 42 per cent calling for it to be saved.

The poll also showed that most Canterbury residents do not want to spend public money saving the building or running the temporary cardboard cathedral.





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