BY Ian Dunn | February 7 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

5-ST-MARY'S-RETREAT-CENTRE-

Future of Kinnoull hangs in the balance

Redemptorist Fathers issue urgent appeal for support, ahead of Friday deadline, to develop land at St Mary’s Monastery to prevent closure

The Redemptorist Fathers of St Mary’s Monastery at Kinnoull, Perth, have issued an urgent appeal for support for their plans to develop land owned by the monastery to prevent its closure.

Fr Ronald McAinsh, the order’s provincial superior, made the appeal on Friday, saying that it was vital that Perth and Kinross Council approved the redevelopment plan for the monastery to survive.

Plans for the development were previously voted down by one vote. Letters and e-mails of support for the project have to reach the council by Friday.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien made a personal plea last year for the future of St Mary’s Monastery in Perth to be secured when it became clear the 141-year-old Kinnoull monastery could face closure if plans for the construction of houses on adjacent land are not given the green light.

“I ask that you and the members of Perth and Kinross Council give every consideration to the proposals for the future of this land,” he said. “Much will depend on your decision.”

Urgent need

Fr McAinsh said the need for development was urgent as the ‘monastery is cold, lacks full facilities for toilets and showers and is in serious need of upgrading’ and ‘it is for these reasons that we are seeking an enabling development, which means that every penny of the money raised by the proposed sale of the land will be used to bring the monastery up to a reasonable standard for this age.’

“We are once again seeking planning permission for the field above the monastery, our previous application having been turned down by a single casting vote only,” he wrote in a public letter. “This field which is bounded by St Mary’s Cottage at the top, the houses built in the 1970’s on the Hatton Road side, and by the monastery at the bottom of the field, is to form part of the proposed Perth Green Belt in the forthcoming final stage of the new Local Development Plan, something we strongly dispute and will be challenging.”

He went on to say that this redevelopment would be a small price to pay for the monastery’s survival.

“We are proceeding with a request for planning permission in order that we may sell the field and so thereby ensure the future of the monastery,” he said. “Our monastery has been here since 1865 and has been serving Perth, the neighbouring parts of Scotland and indeed the wider global community ever since.”

He said he and his community believed the plans for the ‘proposed 19 houses on the site’ would ‘not in any way mar the landscape.’

How you can help

Fr McAinsh has asked anyone with an affinity for St Mary’s monastery to communicate their support to Perth and Kinross Town Council as soon as they can ahead of Friday’s deadline by writing to the Head of Planning, Perth and Kinross Council, Pullar House, 35 Kinnoull Street, Perth PH1 5GD, or e-mailing the council directly by visiting the monastery’s website at (http://www.kinnoullmonastery.co.uk) and clicking on ‘planning application,’ which will lead to a link for the planning authority.

—ian@sconews.co.uk

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