Fringe Box



Progress of Cathedral Housing Plan Uncertain

Published on: 15 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 16 Feb, 2017

Plan showing the proposed development by Guildford Cathedral on Stag Hill.

The progress of a controversial plan to build 134 homes on the slopes of Stag Hill, on which Guildford Cathedral stands, is uncertain, according to sources at Guildford Borough Council (GBC).

The application is on this evening’s (February 15) agenda of the council’s Planning Committee.

Local residents groups have been objecting to the plan on several grounds including: the “overbearing” character of the new buildings; the detrimental impact on views of the cathedral and Stag Hill from the town; the unstable geology of the site and the effect on drainage in the area; and the increased traffic the new homes will generate.

Guildford Cathedral says that they need the development to help achieve a more stable financial position. Profit from the development would be invested to provide a regular income.

Unusually, the cathedral’s financial position has been considered a relevant factor for councillors to consider when assessing a planning application.

But despite a recommendation from planning officers to give permission to the application some councillors are reporting that concerns about the scheme are increasing and that it is far from certain that a majority of the Planning Committee will vote in favour of granting permission.

The Planning Committee meeting will take place this evening (February 15) at 7pm and is expected to be webcast via the GBC website.

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Responses to Progress of Cathedral Housing Plan Uncertain

  1. Sara Tokunaga Reply

    February 15, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    It is a disgrace that members of the planning committee are to consider the cathedral’s financial position a relevant factor when deciding whether to grant planning permission. The application is from Linden Homes and should not be considered a “special case”, a comment which has been made by some councillors.

    The local people’s comments have been largely ignored and the cathedral has attempted to hijack the public comments section of the application by sending letters of support from their own employees, and members of the congregation who do not live in the area and therefore will be completely unaffected by this blight.

    I hope everyone attends the meeting tonight and voices their disapproval at the way this campaign has been conducted and the high density planning application. However, be very quiet about it as the chairwoman has a habit of threatening to clear the chamber if anyone has the temerity to show dissent!

  2. Nick Edmonds Reply

    February 15, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t think a lot of people realise just how bleak a picture it is for Guildford Cathedral if it can’t secure these funds.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      February 16, 2017 at 10:22 pm

      If so, then it is the job of the CoE to raise the money. There are plenty of avenues open to it from crowdfunding to approaching donors.

      “Bleak” is a relative term. During the English Civil War there were demands to abolish bishops and parliament passed a Bill of Attainder by which Archbishop Laud was executed.

      The lack of funds is only a symptom. The underlying cause is that the Church has not gathered enough support. It needs to address the question of why its flock is small and declining.

      Selling off the family silver and degrading our built environment is not a satisfactory response.

  3. Valerie Thompson Reply

    February 17, 2017 at 9:58 am

    The Church of England needs to look to fundraising in a less damaging way, than building on vulnerable land.

    This would have only be a windfall for the cathedral and would not have not addressed the problem of continued funding in the future.

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