Report may save church

The Highgate Presbyterian Church in Maori Hill. Photo: ODT files
The Highgate Presbyterian Church in Maori Hill. Photo: ODT files
New information about the condition of one of Dunedin's most prominent churches may save it from demolition.

Highgate Presbyterian Church in Maori Hill is set to be demolished because the Presbyterian Church is no longer able to maintain the building, which it says requires expensive work to earthquake-proof.

But a new detailed assessment on the condition of the nearly 100-year-old building has found it is not earthquake prone as defined in the Building Act.

The church has previously agreed to put the demolition on hold so the Dunedin City Council had time to research alternative solutions.

It has been given the new report which would be circulated among church leaders and the congregation before a meeting today.

Heritage developer Stephen Macknight and his brother, Richard, have led a campaign to save the church from demolition and commissioned the new report.

Mr Macknight said they were not trying to force the church to reverse its earlier decision but wanted as much information as possible to be considered before any demolition.

The report showed the building could be redeveloped to meet both the church's and the community's needs at less cost than developing a new building, he said.

Highgate Presbyterian Church minister the Rev Geoffrey Skilton said an appeal on the church's decision to demolish the building had been lodged with the Southern Presbytery by a member of the congregation. Because of the appeal there would be no decisions made at today's meeting and instead it would be about reflection and information sharing, Mr Skilton said.

While the matter was being considered neither he nor the church council would be able to comment.

Comments

"Mr Macknight said they were not trying to force the church to reverse its earlier decision but wanted as much information as possible to be considered before any demolition".
Quite right, there has been too much demolition of historic buildings in Dunedin over the years (and featureless concrete blocks being put up), too much demolition by neglect, Cargill's Castle anyone, so well done on the brothers trying to save this building.