Aberystwyth church demolition plan withdrawn

The controversial planning application to demolish St Winefride’s Catholic Church and Presbytery in Queen’s Road, Aberystwyth and build flats on the site has been withdrawn by the applicants.

The withdrawal came after it became clear that Ceredigion’s Planning Department were set to refuse planning permission due to the applicants’ failure to provide information that would justify the demolition of a historic church in the town’s conservation area and their claim that renovation would cost £2 million. At the same time, campaigners opposing the demolition had produced evidence, in a report commissioned by the organisation Save Britain’s Heritage, to show that the building did not need to be demolished and could be renovated for £600,000.

The application by the church’s Menevia Diocese, based in Swansea, is intended to fund the building of a new church in Penparcau which already has planning permission. Although there are different strands of opinion within the church’s large congregation, many parisioners have vehemently opposed the plans.

St Winefrede’s church was built in 1874-5 in a gothic style and was the first Catholic church to be built in Ceredigion after the Reformation. It played a pivotal role in developing the Welsh language within the Catholic church, publishing the first Welsh hymnbook and developing a Welsh Mass.

Following the withdrawal of the application, it is expected that the applicants will now make another attempt to assemble evidence to support their case and will re-apply for planning permission in a few months time.