Churches challenge proposed heritage rules

Christchurch’s Anglican and Catholic dioceses want proposed new planning rules relaxed so it is easier for them to demolish their quake-damaged heritage buildings.

In submissions lodged on the Christchurch Replacement District Plan (CRDP) the two dioceses argue the proposed planning rules focus too heavily on preserving heritage buildings at all costs and ignore the fact that sometimes full or partial demolition is the best course of action.

The dioceses appear to have collaborated on the submissions as some of the points made in them are almost identical.

The Catholic diocese, in its submission, said the provisions in the natural and cultural heritage chapter of the CRDP did not adequately recognise the extent to which some heritage buildings had suffered earthquake damage and the extensive repair works required for those buildings.

Under that chapter of the CRDP the council is proposing to put in place policies to protect important heritage buildings and places from inappropriate subdivision or development.

It has suggested using a two-tier system to identify those buildings and places that deserve to be protected because they are culturally or historically significant.

The Catholic diocese said while it accepted earthquake damage did not in itself justify deconstruction, there were a number of heritage buildings remaining where repairs were completely uneconomic, particularly for owners who did not derive a commercial income.


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