Dean says Cathedral Quarter plan will attract more visitors to Ripon
Last updated Jan 29, 2023
The Dean of Ripon
The Dean of Ripon the Very Revd John Dobson pictured outside the cathedral, with Minster Gardens to the left

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd John Dobson, has said the creation of a Cathedral Quarter would boost the city’s economy while providing an enhanced setting for the Grade I listed building.

His comments follow the submission of a planning application to Harrogate Borough Council seeking permission for construction of a two-storey standalone annexe on the Minster Gardens site to the north of the cathedral.

If planning consent is granted, the building would include a song school, gift shop, cafe and the city centre’s first Changing Places toilet, providing improved access to the city and the cathedral for disabled people.

Toilet block on Minster Gardens

The area of Minster Gardens where the proposed new building would be located

To accommodate the development, 11 trees would need to be removed from Minster Gardens and the existing toilet block demolished, along with outbuildings and a wall.

The proposal also includes landscaping of the gardens and improved links to Kirkgate and the Cathedral Car Park.

With these works added to the cost of construction, the new estimate for the project is in excess of £6 million.

Dean John, said:

“Taking down the trees and building in that area will need to be seen in context of this being a major development not only for the cathedral but for the city and the region.

“The development has to serve the needs of people coming to us as worshippers, pilgrims, holidaymakers, day trippers and people who come to concerts.”

He added that the planning application is:

“The culmination of years and years of work; building relationships, looking at all the different possibilities and options.

“It has been a huge job to get to this point but what people are excited about is we have at last found a solution to the age-old problem for the cathedral and city which will enable us to create the cathedral quarter and that is a wonderful prospect.

“Ripon is the cathedral city for entrance to the Dales and the region and these plans enhance not only the cathedral but the city as well, by bringing an increase in visitor numbers.”

With regard to the removal of trees, Dean John, said:

“In mitigation of losing 11 trees we will be planting over 300 trees, some on the site and others on land which is being provided for us.”

On the issue of Minster Road, he said:

“Some people in the city want to close Minster Road while the city council definitely does not. What we are saying is we need to find a way of calming and reducing the traffic so it can become a unified area which will also be safe for pedestrians and can be opened up as a public space to be used and for people to come and go.

“There are many similar areas around the country which work perfectly successfully so while details have to be worked out we are saying there are no plans to close Minster Road.”

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