The Cathedral’s draft Master Plan consultation, launched last month, is a starting point in the development of plans to improve the experience of visiting, studying and worshipping at the Cathedral for current and future generations. It is made possible by the near completion of the Cathedral’s major repair programme which allows the Cathedral to look beyond repair and consider how to best enhance the Cathedral as a place of worship, study and music for future generations.
In the few weeks since the consultation was opened Chapter, the Cathedral‘s governing body, and Salisbury Cathedral School in particular, have received a high volume of welcome feedback to the draft Master Plan and, in response to a recurring request, Chapter is pleased to announce the extension of the consultation period by three months to 31 December, 2015.
Aims and Intentions
In response to other recurring comments, Chapter is keen to re-emphasise that the draft Master Plan consultation is designed to present a range of options enabling both the Cathedral and its stakeholders to explore a number of different future development scenarios before any are set in stone, or committed to through the preparation of more detailed plans or costly reports.
By preparing a document that details these options and presenting a rationale behind how land and buildings around the Close could be developed, the Cathedral aims to explain how the various proposals are interlinked and the options that are available for their implementation.
The Master Plan consultation invites views from as wide a cross section of people as possible who have an interest in the Cathedral and Close. This is being achieved through open days to explain the proposals in greater detail; talking to local statutory bodies and interest groups; and encouraging feedback from residents, visitors and worshippers as well as local businesses and schools through an online questionnaire.
The questionnaire has been designed to allow respondents who want to quickly submit their thoughts (such as visitors to Salisbury for the day) to do so, whilst also providing a facility for far more detailed comments on the Master Plan as a whole or various aspects of it.
In response to the initial feedback, Cathedral School governors have also undertaken to meet with school parents to discuss specifically the various options presented which impact on the school. The extended consultation deadline will enable this to happen at the start of the next school term.
Planning and Development
The preparation of a draft Master Plan has resulted from discussions between Chapter and Wiltshire Council. It was considered that such a document would encourage discussion and debate and would almost inevitably evolve as it progresses so as to reflect the responses received from statutory bodies, residents and interested parties within the Close and the wider area. With such scrutiny an agreed Master Plan would have more weight as a decision making tool when planning proposals come forward in the future. This approach enables the reasons behind a particular project to be set out and present a number of options to fulfil a given objective.
By way of example, the Cathedral School has been considering the development of land to the east of Bishop’s Palace in order to provide better facilities than are currently located within this area. The provision of new school facilities could include a partial move away from the Bishop’s Palace and, as such, the draft Master Plan sets out how the Cathedral could utilise rooms within the building should they become available. These proposals are by no means a fait accompli but do set out a number of ways that the aspirations of the School and the Cathedral could be mutually beneficial.
The inclusion of projects such as this within a draft Master Plan allows for wider debate to take place, and for the Cathedral to consider responses received in respect of the consultation before preparing a final version for submission to the Council.
At the end of this consultation the Cathedral will have the opportunity to consider the feedback received and prepare an updated version for submission to Wiltshire Council. It is anticipated that a final version will be in place and agreed with the Council in spring next year.
Anyone who has an interest in how the Close will look and be used in the future is encouraged to complete the Master Plan questionnaire which is available through the Cathedral’s website.