Bridgnorth rector seeking to build car park on top of graves
A Bridgnorth clergyman has applied to build a car park over the top of graves in his church's cemetery because he has a "duty of care" to disabled parishioners.
Rector Simon Cawdell submitted plans to build the six-bay car park over the top of graves that are hundreds of years old at St Mary Magdalene's Church in East Castle Street.
Memorials above the graves would have to be relocated if the plans are approved. No bodies would be moved as the car park would be built on top.
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 another option should be found.
Rector Cawdell said: "For a significant period of time the church has had an issue with elderly people and people with mobility issues struggling to get to church because of the distance to the nearest car park in Listley Street.
"We have a duty to people with mobility issues. They need to be able to attend church as they wish to.
"Having looked at all the options quite extensively, we've decided that this is the best one.
"The church is a building that seats the best part of 400 people, and to have next to no disability parking spaces is something that is really out of keeping."
Several objectors have disagreed with Rector Cawdell, submitting comments on the application. Terence Jones said: "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. 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."
However others share his views. 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. I strongly support this application."
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."
The consultation ends tomorrow. To view the application and comment on it, click here