UPDATED: Cranmer Courts On the C.C.C. Agenda 11th October

Christchurch City Council passed Councillor Broughton's motion by 5 votes to 4.
The Meeting has received widespread media coverage. The Press.   TV3
National Radio's Checkpoint are running the headline "Protestors thrown out of fiery council meeting in Christchurch".

Dr. Lochhead has generously provided us with the text of his Deputation.

Submission to Christchurch City Council, 11 October 2012

Former Normal School/Cranmer Courts

• New Zealand legislation and national and international heritage charters all tell us that it is important to retain
heritage buildings for the well being of society. These include

o The Historic Places Act

o The RMA – s. 6 states heritage is a matter of ‘national importance’

o CCC City plan emphasises the value of heritage to the city

o CCC’s Draft Central City plan (2011) reiterates the value of heritage to the future of the city

o CERAs Heritage Buildings and Heritage Places Recovery Programme is ‘to ensure heritage buildings
and heritage places remain as points of recognition and continuity in an altered environment’.

o The Venice Charter (1964) and the NZ ICOMOS Charter (2010) both affirm the value of heritage to
human society and its wellbeing.

• Yet as I speak one of Christchurch’s most significant heritage buildings is being demolished

• The Normal School was built in 1876, with additions in 1878

• It is contemporaneous with the first buildings of the Arts Centre and the Rolleston Avenue façade of the

Canterbury Museum, buildings which defined the character of the city before the earthquakes and which will

continue to define it into the future

• The Normal School ranks with these buildings as among the city’s most significant heritage buildings

• It is listed as Category one by NZHPT & Group 1 by CCC

• It is the oldest building of its kind in the country and has an important place in the history of education in
Christchurch and Canterbury

• When the building was converted to apartments between 1982 and 1986 it was a ground breaking project and
set an example for other similar projects elsewhere in New Zealand

• The building was seen as so significant at that time that in June 1982 the Minister of Lands entered into a
Covenant with the owner in perpetuity under the Reserves Act to protect the ‘landscape amenity and historical
value’ of the building’s facades.

• It is our view that this covenant still offers protection to the building and that the demolition currently
occurring is potentially illegal

• A copy of the covenant is here for the benefit of Council

• We understand that a consortium of property developers is currently putting together a purchase proposal and
that other proposals are also being developed

• In these circumstances we are asking CCC to

o Restate its request for a moratorium on all demolitions of heritage buildings until CERA has an

appropriate heritage recovery plan in place

o Call for an immediate halt to the demolition of Cranmer Courts to allow for the purchase plans

currently being developed to be put to the body corporate

o Call for a halt to demolition to allow time for the legality of the current action to be properly assessed

• We wish to remind Council of the role it played in ensuring the retention, restoration and adaptive re-use of the
former Government Building in Worcester Street, now the Heritage Apartments, which will reopen within a
matter of a few months

o Council purchased the building in July 1991, developed criteria for its restoration, called for

expressions of interest, and sold it in March 1995 to the Auckland-based Symphony Group which

carried out the conversion into apartments

o At the building’s opening in 1996 the CEO of the Symphony Group stated that what had brought

them to Christchurch was the special ingredient that they could not find in Auckland – the added

benefit of a heritage building which money could not buy

o In the post-earthquake environment the added value of heritage buildings will be in even shorter

supply than when the Heritage Apartments were developed

• If all other avenues fail CCC should purchase Cranmer Courts and follow a similar process to that used for the
successful restoration of the Government Buildings

• This building only needs time for a successful outcome to be found for the current owners, for heritage and for
the future of our city.

• The fate of Cranmer Courts is in your hands.


Ian Lochhead (Dr)




Dr. Ian Lochhead  and Lorriane North supported by Anna Crighton,  are making a  Deputation to Council supporting Councillor Helen Broughton's motion "That Council urgently request CERA place a month’s moratorium on the demolition of Cranmer..."

the wording of the motion is the following:
The following Notice of Motion was submitted by Councillor Helen Broughton pursuant to Standing
Order 3.10:
“That Council urgently request CERA place a month’s moratorium on the demolition of Cranmer
Courts, recognising this is a Group One Heritage Building and within an important heritage precinct”.

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