Jersey

Appeal to Pope over Jersey church planning dispute

Gorey RC Church
Image caption The Pope has been asked to save the disused Catholic church in Gorey

A plea has been made to the Pope to back a campaign to stop a disused Catholic church in Jersey being knocked down for houses.

Fraser Martin, who lives close to the church in Gorey, has written to the Vatican because he is so upset by the proposals.

More than 100 islanders have signed a petition against the development.

Mr Martin said if the site had to be developed, it should be turned into a Christian outreach centre.

"This could encompass a whole range of things," he said.

"Anything from a drop-in coffee centre, a place for quiet reflection, or a place where Christian doctors, psychiatrists or financial advisers could offer services free."

'Emotive issues'

The East of Jersey Catholic Church says houses are the best option for the site and over the years, no-one had shown an interest in using the building for purposes other than Catholic worship.

The planning department is now reviewing plans for two, three-bedroom homes and car parking on the Main Road site.

In a statement, Monsignor Nicholas France, Catholic Dean in Jersey, said: "It is accepted that the opinions of local people have been heard as expressed in a clear manner through the media.

"As for alternative uses, then individuals or groups are welcome to purchase the site in the normal manner following the outcome of due process."

The nineteenth century building became a church in 1954 and closed in May 2013, coinciding with the retirement of Father Brian Sanderman.

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