Walsingham Shrine improvement placed on maintain

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Plans for a major redevelopment of the Catholic Shrine in Walsingham were dropped after concerns were raised about the impact on the 14th century Slipper Chapel and the impact of the coronavirus on visitor numbers.

The Trustees of the National Catholic Shrine withdrew planning applications to North Norfolk Council after the Diocese of East Anglia Diocese's Committee on Historic Churches expressed concern about the impact of the new development on the interior of the historic chapel. Historical England also had reservations.

The plans would have seen what is now the Chapel of Reconciliation, which was built in the 1980s to resemble a barn and was replaced with a neo-Gothic church. There would also have been expanded facilities for pilgrims.

Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia, Chairman of the Walsingham Trust, said: “We are very positive about the future of the National Catholic Shrine in Walsingham, which is a place of great devotion for some 250,000 Catholics and other pilgrims and visitors each year.

“The Trust aims to both preserve the unique character of the sanctuary and serve the needs of pilgrims while ensuring that it continues to make a positive contribution to the local community.

“There is no doubt that many of the current facilities need to be improved and developed, but we must ensure that solving the practical problems of the sanctuary does not harm its unique and special nature.

"The Trustees have listened to the numerous contributions to the latest building permit application and have decided to review the project's objectives and possible options in the light of recent concerns."

Image: Slipper Chapel (Courtesy of the Diocese of East Anglia)

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