Dean welcomes backing from Historic England for plans for new cathedral facilities
Historic England, the public body that looks after England’s historic environment, has added its supports to plans for a development which will provide vital facilities for a 21st century cathedral. See our display or visit www.riponcathedral.org.uk
February 27, 2023
*The Ripon Cathedral Renewed leaflet is available on the project page HERE and in printed format in the cathedral.
The public body that looks after England’s historic environment has added its supports to plans for Ripon Cathedral Renewed, a development which will provide vital facilities for a 21st century cathedral.
In a submission to planners it says. ‘Historic England supports the location and design of this proposal, which will make a positive 21st century contribution to Ripon’s wonderful historic environment.’
It follows backing by both Ripon City Council and the community interest group Ripon Together.
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL said: “I am delighted that Historic England welcomes our ‘aspiration to integrate the Cathedral more into the life of the City, to provide facilities to continue with its choral traditions, to remove damaging clutter from the interior, and to provide some basic facilities…’ and that it accepts that we have made a good case for our chosen site.
“The consultants who have been advising us are firmly of the opinion that Ripon Cathedral Renewed will increase visitors to Ripon by over 30,000 per year. In addition, it is expected there will be more people coming to the cathedral for worship, concerts, and other events. Local businesses will therefore benefit.”
A new building, with cloisters and gardens, would stand on the north side of the cathedral housing facilities including toilets (with disabled access as well as an adult changing room); a song school that provides a safe place in which our choristers can rehearse away from the public; storage enabling the opening up of significant historic areas of the cathedral to visitors; a re-located shop, making possible access to the north west tower and its views to the world heritage site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal and a refectory providing a level of hospitality appropriate for a cathedral welcoming visitors, pilgrims, worshippers, concert-goers, and parishioners from across this vast diocese, county and beyond these shores.
After several years work and significant investment all possible options for meeting the cathedral’s pressing needs have been explored and the use of all its properties and land considered. With the support of Historic England, The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and local planning officers, the cathedral has been able to develop an exciting plan for the north side of the church. It is a proposal which will benefit not only the cathedral but also the wider city.
As well as enhancing the much-valued memorial garden, created by the Ripon Poppy Appeal and others, the development will increase the amount of public open space as well as biodiversity. The proposal is to plant 14 new trees around the cathedral, (11 need to be felled for the development) and a further 300 on land at Studley Royal.
The dean explained: “Several years ago, the cathedral chapter responded with enthusiasm to the invitation within the Ripon City Plan to develop a vision for a cathedral quarter, safeguarding the Old Deanery as a hotel, improving the public realm around the cathedral, and providing for the cathedral’s acknowledged needs. The plans that have been drawn up for the development north of the cathedral, on Minster Gardens, achieve all of this.
“It is extremely encouraging that Ripon City Council has voted strongly in favour of our proposals, and the board of Ripon Together has voted unanimously in favour of supporting us. Ripon Together has operated for over seven years as a partnership body bringing together representatives of all sectors, including the Ripon City Council, The Civic Society, The Museums Trust, the business community, the cathedral, tourism and the wider public. As chair, I absented myself from the entire meeting at which our proposals were considered! Thank you also to the hundreds of people who have made comments in support of our plans, which have now been submitted for planning permission.
“There has been some confusion caused by an outdated master plan. This was created several years ago to facilitate the discussions around the development of the City Plan and the concept of a cathedral quarter. It does not represent the cathedral’s intentions. We remain committed to our vision for a 21st century cathedral and a project which will bring enormous benefits to both the community and the city, a project which will help ensure the future of Ripon Cathedral.
“For me, this stems directly from our desire to follow Christ’s example of serving the world he came to save. Yes, in this season of Lent, I do hope and pray for a better world.”
*In their submission Historic England outlines that the archaeological impact of the proposal needs to be clarified in advance of a planning decision. A report outlining the archaeology of the site has since been submitted by the cathedral.