Cathedral heritage campaigners give up legal fight

given up their legal battle

Heritage campaigners have given up their legal battle to prevent the demolition of Christchurch’s Catholic cathedral and say their only hope is to shame the local bishop into saving the historic building.

Restore Our Catholic Cathedral (ROCC) spokeswoman  Dame Anna Crighton said they had given up their legal battle after receiving legal advice from barrister Prudence Stevens, which concluded the section 38 notice could not be challenged in the courts.

The only thing we could do is file an injunction to stop the work. But if we do that, and we lose, we have to pay all the legal costs,” Crighton said.

“It was always going to be a challenge.”

“The only thing we can do is shame them and let people know that we did try.”

The diocese has since acknowledged that demolition cannot start until a work plan is approved. Approval by Information New Zealand (Linz), the Government agency that oversees the emergency earthquake power, in the form of a section 38 notice, is being sought.

Linz property and land manager Matt Bradley said a decision should be reached on the demolition plan within a week.

A spokesman for the Catholic diocese said demolition work would commence only once the plan was approved by Linz.

Crighton received the title Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2020 New Year honours.

She had long campaigned to protect New Zealand’s historic buildings but stepped up after the 2011 earthquake.

She was a Christchurch City Councillor for twelve years (1995–2007) during which time she chaired the Arts Culture and Heritage Committee.

Crighton has helped restore the quake-damaged Isaac Theatre Royal in her role as director of the theatre’s charitable foundation.

She also helped preserve more than a dozen Christchurch heritage buildings.

She has a PhD from Otago University. The subject of her thesis is The selection and presentation culture of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery.


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