HISTORIC monuments body Cadw is to be consulted on the controversial plans for Tenby’s St Julian’s Church.
The 19th century harbour side building has been at the centre of a storm of protest after a scheme to bring it in line with the 21st century were revealed.
The proposals would see a small extension being constructed to house a kitchenette, toilet and storeroom. This would be accessed through the church’s east wall.
The altar would be re-located to the north wall with a driftwood cross above; roof timbers would be lightened and hung with ‘sails’ of translucent material, with a roof skylight in the shape of a cross.
A glass entrance porch would be built inside the front door, with wall plaques relocated to a prayer corner, and dedication plaques under the stained glass windows replaced with etched glass windowsills.
Campaigners fear that the project would remove the ‘heart and soul’ from the iconic building, and as well as petitioning clergy, have also set up an online petition to the Diocese of St Davids and the Church in Wales.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National park Authority (PCPNA) has confirmed that it will be considering the plans.
A spokesman added: “The church is not subject to listed building control, as it falls under ‘ecclesiastical exemption’, but will still require faculty consent, which will considered by the Diocesan Advisory Committee, who consult Cadw as standard practice.”
Diocese communications officer, David Hammond-Williams, said that suggestions from PCNPA had been incorporated into the scheme. “So we are confident that planning consent will be granted,” he added.
He said that the faculty consent was due to be considered in June.
A statement issued this week by St Mary’s Parochial Church Council in Tenby said that St Julian’s Church ‘has reached a moment of decision in its life’.
It added: “Either it remains as it is – a liturgically redundant and physically run-down curiosity for visitors - or it is re-ordered and re-launched with its own unique ministry for the 21st century, on a glorious site that we wish to reclaim as a major point of outreach for Jesus in the life of our benefice.
"Having chosen the latter, we wish to create a vibrant fully-equipped church that attracts worshippers again, whilst at the same time respecting its history and position in the life of Tenby as Christ’s haven in the harbour.
"We therefore intend to re-wire the whole building, install heating and lighting, introduce running water, modern conveniences, small catering facilities, and disabled access, and to create an inspiring and imaginative space in which we can worship God and invite all sorts of different people to meet Him and worship Him.
"This is exactly the same vision as those who founded St Julian’s back in 1878.”