Sunday, October 28, 2012

St Winefride's church in Aberystwyth holds final mass ahead of safety closure

Our Lady of the Angels and St Winefride's ChurchA Catholic church in Aberystwyth closing because of poor repair is holding its final service on Sunday.

Parishioners at St Winefride's have been told the site is not fit for purpose and will no longer be insured.

The Bishop of Menevia, the Right Reverend Thomas Burns, wants to demolish the church amid plans to sell the land for housing.

Objectors say a proposed new church on the edge of town would be difficult for many worshippers to attend.

The new church is earmarked for Penparcau on the outskirts of Aberystwyth, but in the meantime services could be held in a community centre or a local school.

The diocese has said the church site in Queen's Road, which includes a dilapidated parish hall and presbytery, would cost more than £2.6m to renovate although objectors dispute this figure.
 
Bill disputed

Opponents of the closure say a survey they had carried out on the building had shown it was in "remarkably good condition".

They have also expressed surprise at the timing of the closure announcement, which they claim came a day after a survey commissioned by them suggested the church could be renovated for £625,000.

The church's insurance cover ends on 1 November.

Bishop Burns, who is based in Swansea, has told parishioners that the church's insurers had assessed the risk of injury from the use of the church or the presbytery as "very high".

He has been asked to respond to details in the parishioners' survey.

Our Lady of the Angels and St Winefride's was built in 1874 and is said to have a congregation of about 300 for three Sunday services.

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