A heritage building is a building that is important to our history so we want to save it. It is usually a beautiful building. When a change is needed to that building for its use today, there can be a problem of how to keep its heritage value. Many cathedrals, museums and art galleries around the world have faced this problem.
The Christchurch Arts Centre in the centre of Christchurch is a heritage place. It used to be the University of Canterbury until, in the 1970s, the university moved to a new site where there was more space. The original university buildings became the Arts Centre. The buildings are Gothic style, designed by a famous architect who also designed the museum nearby. The oldest building of the original university was built in 1877. Tourists to Christchurch enjoy visiting the Arts Centre and local people love it too.
However, one part of the Arts Centre was never finished and is now a small car park. The university wanted to build a $24m music school there, where students could perform and people could attend concerts. But there were strong protests from people who thought this building was not suitable for the Arts Centre. Yesterday, the university heard that they did not get resource consent because the new building would be too big for that site. It would dominate the other Arts Centre buildings. This means that visitors would mostly see the new music school instead of enjoying the old buildings.
This decision was a shock to the university and others who wanted a music school in the centre of the city but it was a win for those who wanted to stop it.