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Concern over new monastery design for Mirfield

The Victorian Society has objected to a proposal to build a new monastery for the Anglican Community of the Resurrection in West Yorkshire.

The community, which is currently home to 20 brothers, wants to convert its existing monastery into housing and move into a new building to be constructed less than two metres from the site's Grade II-listed church.

'We don't object in principle to a new monastery being built at Mirfield but the design and scale of what is proposed for this sensitive historic location is very wrong,' said Alex Baldwin, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'The curved walls don't fit in with the surrounding buildings; instead the metal and glass structure looks more like an ocean liner set on a collision course with the church.'

Under the plans the inside of Walter Tapper's Church of the Resurrection would also be changed, including the complete removal of the original stone floor. Most of the early Twentieth Century fittings would also be lost.

Many of the proposals have been prompted by a need to improve access for the community's elderly residents and visitors, but the Society believes that less damaging solutions have not been properly investigated.

Ms Baldwin added, 'Too many of the changes proposed for Mirfield will cause long term damage to the listed church. A sensitive re-think is badly needed.'

The Victorian Society has written to Kirklees Borough Council to recommend that the current planning application is refused permission.

Background

The Community of the Resurrection is an Anglican monastic community, inspired by the rule of St. Benedict. It was founded in Oxford in 1892 by the Rev Charles Gore, and moved to Mirfield in 1898.

The design of the proposed new monastery is based on a powerful early Christian symbol - the mandorla. The shape is similar to that of an almond. Inside the new building there would be 25 rooms, three of which would be equipped for intensive care. The monastery would also contain a chapter room, a chapel, offices, a refectory, a kitchen and meeting rooms.

Wednesday 28 April, 2010

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