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Church car park plan would ‘desecrate’ centuries-old cemetery

By Nick Humphreys | Bridgnorth | Property | Published:

A car park being built on a historic graveyard would “desecrate” a Bridgnorth cemetery, according to residents.

St Mary Magdalene Church in East Castle Street. Picture: Google

Plans have been lodged for a six-space car park for disabled parishioners at St Mary Magdalene Church in East Castle Street.

Graves which are hundreds of years old would have to be relocated if the plans are approved.

The application has attracted a mixed response, with some saying it will be a big help to disabled churchgoers who struggle with mobility issues, but others arguing that there are hundreds of people buried there and other another option should be found.

Terence Jones said: “The church already has six spaces to park cars on the churchyard, and when this is full they seem to park anywhere they please on the graves. The churchyard should be left for the public to enjoy.”

Brian Fothergill added: “The formation of six parking spaces and associated vehicular and pedestrian access would destroy the appearance of a particularly beautiful area of Bridgnorth. This is part of the old graveyard and must be consecrated ground.”

Blake Bromley disagreed though, saying that a number of parishioners who attend Sunday service are disabled.

He added: “Without the six churchyard parking spaces it becomes very difficult to take them to church.”

John Fadelle said that a friend of his who attends church is unable to walk, and said: “Having a proper car park at St Mary’s will improve her quality of life.”

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The planning heritage and design and access statement says: “The site contains several gravestones and likely graves. These will be relocated in accordance with a scheme which will need to be agreed with the Church authorities.”

The low-key nature of the works proposed, and the lack of any proposed aboveground new structures will mean that the scheme will have little visual impact on the setting of the Conservation Area or the setting of any of the nearby Scheduled Heritage Assets.”

Shropshire Council’s archaeological advisor said: “ The site can therefore be considered to have some potential archaeological interest, and any below ground archaeological remains may be affected by the construction of the proposed car park.

"A programme of archaeological work should be undertaken and submitted with any subsequent application.”

The consultation ends on August 15.

To view the application, click this link.

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Bridgnorth.

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