Demolition of Christchurch cathedral on hold

2:51 pm on 11 July 2012

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed the demolition of ChristChurch Cathedral is on hold while the Anglican Church considers a report which says the building can be saved.

The church in Cathedral Square was badly damaged during the devastating earthquake in Christchurch in February 2011 and work had begun to deconstruct the building after its owner, the Anglican Diocese, decided it had no other option due to safety concerns.

A new, independent report by three structural engineers commissioned by heritage group Great Christchurch Buildings Trust says the central city building is safe for workers to restore, contradicting the basis of the demolition order.

The report says a protective tunnel could be used inside the cathedral to allow workers to safely repair and strengthen the building from inside.

Demolition has been on hold since May this year.

John Key said in Christchurch on Wednesday there is a temporary halt on the demolition to allow the church to talk to various parties.

Mr Key says he feels it is important that Christchurch has a cathedral on the site - but whether it is a new structure or a very substantial rebuild is for others to determine.

US heritage expert backs report

An American heritage expert is backing the engineers' report, saying there is global support for the building's restoration.

Marcus Brandt, a professor of architecture from Pennsylvania, has been restoring stone and timber structures for about 30 years and says the report's findings confirm what other restorers have been saying for months.