Resource Consent Application

December 18, 2019
Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited has lodged a consent application for stabilisation work.

Questions and answers


Why have you lodged a resource consent application?

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited (the applicant) is seeking land use consent to undertake enabling works to the Christ Church Cathedral (the Cathedral) and its setting.

The proposed stabilisation works will address severe structural damage suffered by the Cathedral.  The primary objectives of the stabilisation process include:

  • preventing further damage to the Cathedral until it has been reinstated
  • providing an adequate level of protection for workers during reinstatement works
  • enabling access to parts of the Cathedral in such a way that reinstatement can be efficiently implemented.

Resource consent is required for these works.

What does the consent cover / what is the consent for?

Establishment of the site which includes – site offices, gates, hoarding adjustments and Temporary protection of the Citizens’ War Memorial.

The proposed stabilisation work includes some deconstruction of the north and south transepts; stabilisation of areas of the north side aisles in order to make safe; deconstruction of the west end porch and structural framing of the gable end; deconstruction of the Wigram Wall and weather proofing of all areas.  The work will also include the removal of the 1995 Visitors Centre and the 1960s Vestry additions.

What is involved in the consent process?

The project team prepares and lodges the consent application.  Council then considers the application and makes a decision whether to grant or refuse consent.  Read more.

What’s involved in stabilisation?

Stabilisation is the first physical step to reinstate the Cathedral.  The stabilisation works include:

  • Deconstruction of some parts of the building to manage collapse hazards, allow access to the building for stabilisation works
  • Installation of support frames progressively supported and secured to a similar standard as other building sites in New Zealand
  • Access to the interior of the building for salvage and investigation works
  • Retrieval of heritage items, including the remaining stained glass windows and organ
  • Temporary weather-proofing of the building.

How long will stabilisation take?

We estimate it will take between 18 and 24 months.  Once the Cathedral has been stabilised and the engineering investigation is complete, the permanent strengthening/reinstatement developed and detailed design can advance.

When will stabilisation start?

We are planning to start in April 2020.  The exact date will be determined once consents are received.

Why does the consent propose some deconstruction?

Some parts of the existing Cathedral must be deconstructed to enable the building to be stabilised. They will then be rebuilt.  This work also includes salvaging and conserving heritage material, which will be catalogued and stored for future use in the reinstatement.

Which parts are proposed to be deconstructed?

Some parts of the Cathedral will be either fully or partially taken down then reinstated once future strengthening work has been completed:

  • The western wall and porch
  • South transept
  • North transept.

Why does the consent propose some ‘partial demolition’ work?

The removal of the newer additions to the Cathedral is required to allow safer and faster access to stabilise the older parts of the Cathedral.

Without removing some parts of the building (partial-demolition as defined in the Christchurch District Plan), the stabilisation and subsequent reinstatement works would take longer, cost more and require major interruption to the road network adjacent to the site, including pedestrian areas and the tram operation.

Which parts are proposed to be removed (‘partially demolished’)?

  • Visitors Centre (1995): to enable work on the northern side of the main Cathedral
  • The remnants of the Tower: to improve movement around the site, and to allow access to repair the north aisle roof, also making it easier to strengthen the Cathedral foundations and build the new Tower
  • The 1960s vestry additions (at the east end of the site): to enable the Apse (completed in 1904) to be safely stabilised, and to improve access to strengthen the Cathedral foundations.

Why is the project site proposed to extend further into Cathedral Square?

The size of the Cathedral site is limited by the road boundary to the north, south and east of the Cathedral.  The site is constrained.  It is not safe to work in the collapse zone immediately around the Cathedral building until the most dangerous parts of the building have been deconstructed, removed or propped.  Works will involve the use of large machinery on site.  There also needs to be sufficient space for vehicles to access and exit the site safely, for site offices, and space to store some materials.

For these reasons, the proposed site occupies more of Cathedral Square at the western end of the Cathedral.  The construction site hoarding will move up to 12 metres into Cathedral Square on the western side.  This increase is the minimum amount required to enable an efficient reinstatement.  Cathedral Square will still be able to function in much the same way.

Why are you pressing ahead with stabilisation when the design is still being determined?

The stabilisation design has reached a point where stabilisation can begin, once resource consent is granted.

Stabilisation is the first major step in the physical reinstatement process.  It will protect against further earthquake damage, enable access to areas that are currently inaccessible.  This will allow detailed inspections and investigations that are needed to inform the next stages of the project (strengthening and reinstatement).

Stabilisation will also help to protect the Cathedral from weather and to minimise any further deterioration of the heritage fabric.

What’s happening with the Citizens’ War Memorial?

We are aware of the Returned Services Association’s work in relation to the possible removal of the Citizens’ War Memorial from the Cathedral site.  We will be providing working protection for the Citizens’ War Memorial during the site establishment and  stabilisation phase of works.  The details of this protection are included in our Enabling RC application.’

What other consents have been granted for the Reinstatement Project?

Archaeological Authority 2019-587

On 02 May 2019, HNZPT granted an Archaeological Authority, ref 2019-587.  This provides for the management of sub-surface & excavation processes on the site at #100 Cathedral Square and the road reserve to the north, south and east of the site.


On 1 July 2018, resource consent RMA/2018/1399 was approved by CCC for the removal of asbestos contaminated fill on the Cathedral site.

RMA/2018/2758 – Safety Barriers

On 27 November 2018, resource consent RMA/2018/2758 was approved by CCC to install a 26m long by 3m high safety barrier on the eastern end of the Cathedral site.

RMA/2019/1222 Tree Maintenance and Geotech Testing

On 23 July 2019, resource consent RMA/2019/1222 was approved by CCC, which provides for the Comprehensive Maintenance and Management of the ‘Significant Trees’ on site for the duration of the Cathedral Reinstatement Project. The resource consent also allowed for the removal of a non-listed tree within the ‘Heritage Setting’ and Geotechnical Investigations.