BY SCO Admin | April 13 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Cardinal O’Brien seeks to secure monastery’s future

Perth and Kinross Council to decide today if Kinnoul will get planning permission for building project. Refusal could result in closure

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has made a personal plea for the future of St Mary’s Monastery in Perth to be secured.

The 141-year-old Kinnoul Monastery could face closure if plans for the construction of 19 homes on adjacent land by builders Cala are not given the green light. The clergy say they need to use the near £4 million that would be raised by the sale to carry out vital internal renovations and future repairs.

Perth councilors will consider the project today, but planning officials have recommended it be refused.

In an effort to convince the council to back the monk’s plan, Cardinal O’Brien has written to Perth and Kinross Council Provost John Hulbert warning that if the application is refused the monastery faces extreme financial difficulties which could lead to it’s closure.

“Kinnoull is looked upon, not just by our Catholic church locally, but by our Catholic church nationally, as well as by peoples of other Christian denominations and other faiths, as a very welcoming ‘home’ where spiritual batteries can be recharged,” the Cardinal wrote. “However, like many buildings of its age, major repairs have to be undertaken so that the building itself complies with latest legislation. This is indeed costly, as I am sure you are fully aware—and while a major effort in securing Lottery funding was turned down, much effort is now being expended by the community of priests at Kinnoull to ensure that the future of Kinnoull will be safeguarded for years to come.”

The cardinal said he had been visiting the Monastery for 40 years and he was just one of many who treasured it’s tranquility. In this spirit he urged the council leader to consider its financial future when looking at the planning proposal.

“I ask that you and the members of Perth and Kinross Council give every consideration to the proposals for the future of this land, which is the property of St Mary’s Monastery and Retreat,” he said.  “Much will depend on your decision – not just locally as to whether or not there will be buildings erected on the land owned by the monastery, but consideration must be given by yourselves as to what might happen to this major retreat house for peoples of all denominations and faiths if they do not realise enough money for the necessary repairs and upgrading of their building to ensure that it is ‘fit for mission’ in the years which lie ahead.”

The council’s planning department found that the application is contrary to the local development plan for the area. This came after local residents also raised objections about the 19 homes being built within the grounds of the B-listed monastery.

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