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Cathedral Considers Selling Land At Stag Hill For Housing In Bid For Financial Stability

Published on: 26 Sep, 2013
Updated on: 26 Sep, 2013
Guildford Cathedral is considering selling some of its land on Stag Hill for housing, as part of a seven-year plan for financial stability.
Guildford Carthedral 2020 plan includes a range of

The Guildford Cathedral 2020 plan gives it a future says the new Dean.

The new Dean, the Very Rev’d Dianna Gwilliams, launched the bold new plan today (September 26) – which will also involve the creation of a significantly enhanced public open space on Stag Hill, greater connectivity with the town centre and a major programme of urgent repairs to the fabric of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.

The Dean said: “This is a crucial point in the history of the cathedral which has never experienced financial security.

“Guildford Cathedral 2020 gives the cathedral not only a future, but a chance to finally take up its place at the heart of its community, just as its founders envisaged some 80 years ago.

“The strategy provides a framework for an extensive programme of investment which will enable us to establish a strong new physical link with the town and realise the original vision for the cathedral’s surroundings which included landscaped grounds, housing and buildings for community use.”

A fundamental part of the vision is to ensure a sustainable financial future for the cathedral which costs £1.17 million to operate per annum and is currently running at a deficit of around £100,000 per year.

Cathedral Close may be redeveloped according to the plans.

Cathedral Close may be redeveloped according to the plans.

To achieve this, Guildford Cathedral 2020 reveals plans to release an area of land for the development of social and private housing, including a new Cathedral Close to accommodate staff and clergy which will replace the existing sub-standard houses.

The Dean added: “Our belief is that fulfilling our strategy for 2020 will have a positive impact on Guildford as a whole by delivering much-needed affordable housing as well as creating a more welcoming and attractive environment: a centre of worship, culture, music, education and social activity.”

More details on Guildford Cathedral’s own website.

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Responses to Cathedral Considers Selling Land At Stag Hill For Housing In Bid For Financial Stability

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    September 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    This is not a new idea it was floated some thirty years ago when there was a similar proposal. It was rejected as it was felt it would detract from the magnificence of this unique contemporary Gothic structure, erected by the dedication of past generations of Guildfordians,

    Hopefully it will remain as such long after we and the current generation have long gone.

    It was said to be at the time of conception to be “a jewel set in an emerald sea.”

    Let us keep it as such and not embark into the present trend of burying all of our open spaces under a sea of concrete.

  2. Chris Blow Reply

    September 28, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Have we forgotten a piece of history, recorded by a plaque on the cathedral? It reads:

    “The land on Stag Hill about this cathedral
    Was the gift of the Rt. Hon. Richard Bedford
    Viscount Bennett of Calgary and Mickleham
    Prime Minister of Canada 1930-1935 to
    Commemorate the association between Canada
    And the diocese of Guildford in two World Wars
    1914-1918 and 1939-1945”

  3. Bernard Parke Reply

    September 28, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    The site for the Cathedral was given to the Diocese, but the hill itself was to be auctioned.

    Viscount Bennett purchased the hill for the sum of £10,000. He was a, former Prime Minister of Canada who made his home in Mickleham.

    He devised what was known as “The Bennett Buggy” for during the recession it was difficult to acquire petrol for the Canadians’ Ford, Model T cars, suggesting that shafts should be fitted to the vehicles and mules should be used as a form of propulsion.

    Stag Hill is not the most stable building area as its thirty feet of clay tends to move after a dry season followed to heavy rain.

    This was a problem experienced by some properties in the Guildford Park Avenue area, an area carved out of Stag Hill as a brick field in which hand thrown bricks were cast for the Cathedral

    Indeed, when the Cathedral was built 778 piles were driven, between 1935 and 1937, 70 feet into the hill’s chalk base, beneath the clay.

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