by NZ CATHOLIC staff
A judge has ruled that the Church can ask the Crown to compensate it for the loss of a 999-year lease on the old Holy Cross Chapel in Chancery Lane.
The Church had been paying rent of $1 a year to the owner of the Chancery Lane block, RFD Investments. The company is now in receivership. The chapel was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes.
RFD paid the church $193,000, from the $9m insurance payout it received for the Chancery Lane block. In late 2012, the Crown compulsorily acquired RFD’s Chancery Lane complex for just over $9m.
The Church valued its leasehold at $9.5m and wanted the Crown to pay the difference. Lawyers for the receivers said the Church’s “interest was limited” to a share of indemnity insurance.
Justice Nicholas Davidson found the insurance payout to RFD reflected the Crown’s notice of intention to acquire the Chancery Lane site and spelt the end of RFD’s occupancy. But, he said, the Church’s leasehold interest “remained in existence and is compensatable”.
The diocese’s property and development manager, Keith Beal, said the Church wanted only to establish an inner-city chapel along the lines of the previous one.