The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has submitted new plans to demolish St Columban's church at Mayfield.
The diocese applied two years ago to demolish the 1940 red-brick building, but Newcastle council rejected the application in July last year on heritage grounds.
The diocese lodged a second application last week with a new structural report by engineering firm Northrop which says the "critical structural elements of the building are failing and are in need of demolition".
Diocese chief executive Sean Scanlon said on Sunday that the second application sought to confirm that it was not financially viable to adapt the church to another use.
"We were surprised the DA was refused last time, hence our resubmission," he said.
The church, which adjoins St Columban's primary and San Clemente high school, is listed as an item of local significance on the council's Local Environment Plan.
It has been unused since 2017 after an initial structural report by Burke Engineering found its footings were in a dangerous state of disrepair and could fail in an earthquake.
A quantity surveyor engaged by the diocese in 2018 costed the repairs at $4.8 million.
Councillors rejected the first application after a staff report argued the demolition would "have an extreme impact on the heritage significance of the heritage item".
Addressing a council public voice session in December 2018, National Trust historian Dr Ann Hardy said St Columban's had strong social and architectural significance.
But Dr Hardy said she had been unaware of the high repair costs, and knowing that figure had changed her "personal" objection to the demolition.
The diocese hopes to replace the church with a multi-purpose hall.
The Herald's Opinion: Balancing the scales on heritage
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