Monday, 22 October 2012

Battle of Aberystwyth round three

     This note is from those who oppose the Bishop's plans to demolish, develop and re-build                        

                        WHY SHOULD WE SAVE ST WINEFRIDES?

If planning consent is given to demolish St Winefride’s and property development goes ahead on the Queen’s Road site, the parish will have lost a historic and valuable asset. The love and sacrifice lavished by generations past on St Winefride’s will be gone and lost for ever to future generations.

Arguments against demolition and relocation of Catholic community to an out of town site:

 Plans for a church, presbytery and hall can be realised on the Queen’s Rd site. The church was registered at the Land Registry on 29 April, 2005, preparing it for sale a long time before any ‘consultation’ with the parish had been undertaken. This is proof that the diocese of Menevia has, from the beginning, pursued one option only and have never entered into a meaningful dialogue with parishioners. Ref. to parish priest’s letter of resignation.

 An independent survey shows a feasible, affordable option to refurbish the Church at the Queen’s Road site, for far less than the £2.6 million quoted on the plan sent to the parish by Menevia diocese..On the application to Ceredigion Planning, October 2012, the cost is quoted as ‘cost likely to exceed £2 million’ also ‘project (of new build) likely to be neutral . This vague representation of costs does not inspire confidence.

 Parishioners have not seen a report by insurers, nor is there evidence that the building has been surveyed by the insurance company. In September 2012, Ceredigion Council Buildings Officer confirmed that the church poses no health and safety risks Why does the amended application state that St Winefride’s church will remain open for 18 months if planning permission is granted?

 Location, location…Irrespective of how new a building, nor how modern the design, it will inevitably become a white elephant if not accessible to the community. The church location on the Queen’s Road site is central to the community, convenient for public transport links, relatively near to the University and the hospital, and easy for visitors to Aberystwyth to find. It is also a short and convenient walk for parishioners to the town from the church. St Winefride’s is not just a building it is central to the Catholic community in Aberystwyth.

 Development for the 21st century would include environmental arguments against demolition. Demolition of old buildings is hugely environmentally damaging, as well as costly. Demolition would create a situation whereby people are dependent on cars or minibuses to attend church mass; the diocesan plans take no account of the cost to the environment and rising fuel-costs. Furthermore, plans to lay on a mini-bus are not practical as those parishioners who are elderly and disabled will still need to get to the pick-up point.

 Space behind the Queen’s Road site is earmarked by the Council for parking. A local business has also approached the diocese to help solve the parking issue by offering to develop a parking area.

Write to oppose the demolition of St Winefride’s and redevelopment of the Queen’s Road site . Letters should arrive before 2 November, 2012.
Planning Application A120276
Mr Owain Davies, Planning Officer,
Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa, Aberaeron SA46 OPA

At present I am not able to receive comments in my combox, they are being forwarded to me as emails.
I hope to resolve this issue shortly but feel, in the interests of fairplay that, as I have received the following comment I should publish it:

Those who are  infirm are unable to get into this church as there is no disabled access, and as this is a mainly rural parish ( Aberystwyth parish encompasses many villages ).The vast majority of the rest of us drive to church, giving lifts to those who need it, so the position of the church buildings is hardly crucial ! The church gets bitterly cold in the Winter - not good for old or infirm - and there are no toilets either. Vast sums of money have kept the church open thus far - starting when the building was only 50 years old, and we just can't afford it any more. 

Sue Smith

And another comment from one (Dixit Dominus) who is for the status quo:-

One crucial point that seems to be overlooked is that if / when the church moves to Penparcau it will spell the end for daily Mass and informal visits to worship the Blessed Sacrament.  It will not be possible to leave the church open during the day because of the certainty of vandalism in this most run down part of Aberystwyth. Also the church is so far away from the university , offices and everything else that people will not be able to pop in for 5 minutes during their busy days as they do now.  Many of the people who are in favour of this project are 'Sunday Catholics' ; we never see them any other time so maybe this isn't important to them compared to better heating and toilets.


  1. St Winefride's Church: Diocese of Menevia application to demolish the church. Objections to be sent by 5 June, 2013.
    Quote planning application number (A130337 & A130338CA):
    Contact Mr Owain Davies
    Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion
    SA46 0PA
    Reasons for objections could be:-
    • Destruction of a historical church within the conservation area in Aberystwyth.
    • Evidence as given in SAVE report and Barratt reports show that church is structurally sound.
    • No one has seen the purported Insurance reports mentioned by the diocese that condemn the church.
    • Serious neglect of the building is the reason for recent fall of roof masonry.
    • That majority of parishioners want the church to remain central to Aberystwyth and not moved to the outskirts of the town.
    • A feasible option to develop and refurbish the church and Queen’s Rd site has not been explored fully by the diocese.

  2. Actually, some of the comments that have been made are not true. The current location of that church (AberystwythTown Centre) has a much higher crime rate than the proposed area, there are also more people in the proposed area too. I was surprised to see how bigoted people were. From what I have read there are also covenants on that land in Penparcau, as someone local to the land I would like to see those kept in place.