Plans to build car park on Bridgnorth graveyard are approved
Planning permission to build a car park on top of graves at a Bridgnorth church has been granted.
Rector Simon Cawdell applied to install the six-bay car park above graves that are hundreds of years old at St Mary Magdalene's Church in East Castle Street.
Mr Cawdell submitted the plans to help disabled churchgoers and those with mobility issues have easier access to their place of worship. However several negative comments were made, with one suggesting it would "destroy" the appearance of a beautiful part of Bridgnorth.
Shropshire Council has now rubber-stamped the proposal, and Mr Cawdell believes providing easier access will be important in helping Grade II-listed church remain viable.
He said: "Parishioners may wish to be reminded that the proposal does not in any way, shape or form involve concrete or tarmac. It will be a grassed surface.
"We need to do everything we can to maintain the viability of the church, which is a very crucial part of the town."
Among those to disagree with Mr Cawdell was Terence Jones, who commented on the application. "The church already have six spaces to park cars on the churchyard, and when this is full they seem to park anywhere they please on the graves," he said.
"The churchyard should be left for the public to enjoy."
Brian Fothergill shared similar concerns, adding: "The formation would destroy the appearance of a particularly beautiful area of Bridgnorth. This is part of the old graveyard and must be consecrated ground."
Several were behind the application though, including Blake Bromley, who said without the spaces, it would be "very difficult" to take disabled parishioners to church.
John Fadelle added that a friend of his who attends church is unable to walk, and that having a proper car park at St Mary's "will improve her quality of life."
Memorials above the graves will be relocated. No bodies will be moved as the car park will be built on top.
Use of the car park will be restricted to when services and other events are taking place at the church, to ensure that the development is exclusively for the benefit of the church and parishioners. Bat and bird boxes will also be installed as part of the conditions.
'Stay Out Of The Water!' Emergency crews scramble to Bridgnorth to find people playing in River Severn