An arson attack wipes out an historic Christchurch building purchased by the Christchurch Heritage Trust. It was one of the few remaining historic buildings left in the central city.
A week ago, on December 7th, the historic England Brothers Building in central Christchurch was destroyed in what has been generally accepted to be the random work of arsonists.
The historic building on High Street , which had been purchased by the Christchurch Heritage Trust, went up in flames.
This is how one small business owner in the Red Zone interprets the arson:
A late night phone call from a High Street neighbour to inform me that High Street is on fire from end to end, sends a feeling of dismay through us.
Luckily, for us, it turns out to be “just” the Globe building, which was being restored by the Heritage Trust. It was ablaze from end to end. Gerry will be happy, another old dunger gone. A disaster for High Street, as it leaves a nasty hole in the block and it was a fabulous frontage.
The lack of policing in our enclave has been a concern for many months, as the so-called “cordon” is leaking like a sieve. There has been no attempt to protect these buildings from anyone except us owners, who have been excluded for 2 years. No thanks to the powers that be for this deed, which was entirely predictable.
The historic building was purchased by the Christchurch Heritage Trust in May. The trust had intended to spend more than $4 million to rescue the brick facade. It then intended to lease the building to tenants.
At the time of the purchase Heritage Trust chairperson Derek Anderson said: ' Lower High St will be the city's heritage precinct because there's not much left otherwise. We are conscious of preserving what we can now. It's one step forward and two steps back. We'd put in a lot of work to save things, and now they are gone we've really got to make a good job of High St.'
Said trust director Anna Crighton about the arson attack: "This is devastating. Architecturally, it was one of the best buildings in the area. It's just beyond repair. It's completely collapsed. There's very, very little of the facade left."
There has been a spate of arson attacks in Christchurch this year. On the same night that the England Brothers Building went up in flames another building, which was in the process of being demolished , was also attacked by arsonists.
The England Brothers Building was just a short walk away from the proposed new 'Innovation Precinct', which will supposedly facilitate the establishment of technology-based industry and research within the central city. It is part of the 'Grand Plan' devised by the disaster capitalists in conjunction with the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA).
No one has yet been arrested for the arson attack.