Richard III Leicester cathedral plans get green light

Leicester cathedral design The tomb will be placed behind a repositioned altar (the grey cube in front of screen)

A major refit of Leicester Cathedral to host the bones of Richard III has been given the go-ahead.

Delayed since September, plans to move the altar, wooden screens and fit new stained glass have now been backed by the Church of England's planning panel.

But details of a redesigned tomb for the king, a major source of argument, are being kept secret while a legal case about his reinterment is ongoing.

Along with a new garden area outside, the work is expected to cost £1.3m.

Formally asked to prepare for Richard III's remains as soon as their identity was confirmed, the cathedral has since faced a series of hurdles.

Judgement pending

Initial moves to use a flat slab were abandoned in the face of public feedback.

Designs of a raised tomb with a deeply carved cross prompted one group of enthusiasts to withdraw funding from the project.

In September, Cathedral Fabric Commission for England suggested a number of changes to the scheme before it gave approval.

In a statement, Leicester Cathedral's Dean, the Very Rev David Monteith, said. "I am so delighted that our respectful yet imaginative proposals have been accepted.

"These permissions open up the way for major changes in the cathedral, which will help us become more effective in our witness and service.

"Our consultants and staff have worked very hard to develop the architectural vision for a great cathedral at the heart of a great city and county."

Three judges are currently considering a judicial review of the licence to reinter Richard's skeleton in the cathedral.

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