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Plans for shrine development to be reviewed

PUBLISHED: 11:59 10 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:59 10 August 2020

Slipper Chapel. Picture: Alex Ramsey

Slipper Chapel. Picture: Alex Ramsey

Archant

Plans for the major re-development of the Catholic National Shrine at Walsingham have been put on hold after concerns were raised over potential visitor numbers and finances.

Plans to re-develop Walsingham Shrine, a place of great devotion for around 250,000 pilgrims each year, has been put on hold following concerns of the impact Covid-19 will have on the project.

Trustees of the shrine have now withdrawn planning application to North Norfolk District Council to carry out a review of the plans after the Diocese of East Anglia Historic Churches Committee expressed concern.

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The Bishop of East Anglia, the Rt Rev Alan Hopes, said: The Bishop of East Anglia, the Rt Rev Alan Hopes, Chairman of the Walsingham Trust, said: “We are very positive about the future of the Catholic National Shrine at Walsingham, which is a place of great devotion for around 250,000 Catholics and other pilgrims and visitors every year.

“The trust seeks to both preserve the shrine’s unique character and serve the needs of pilgrims whilst ensuring that it continues to make a positive contribution to the local community.

“There is no doubt that many of the current facilities do need to be improved and developed, but we must ensure that the solution to the practical problems of the shrine do not harm its unique and special nature.

“The trustees have listened to the many contributions to the recent application for planning consent and have decided to review the objectives of the project and potential options in the light of recent concerns,” said Bishop Alan.

“The current rector of the shrine, Mgr John Armitage (who leaves at the end of August), has helped achieve tremendous things over the past five years, including its designation by Pope Francis as a Minor Basilica, the recent rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary, the development of accommodation facilities for pilgrims in nearby Walsingham itself and the huge growth of interest in the Shrine online through live streaming.”


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