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Water fountain and bluebells among plans

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A WATER fountain and English bluebells are among the plans for the Little Chapel site.

The Little Chapel. Picture by Ben Fiore (27259455)

The original plans provoked a strong negative reaction from many sections of the public. But Little Chapel Foundation chairman John Silvester said the plans were fairly limited and were aimed at improving the area.

The plans involve an interpretation centre, which will see a roof added to the circular, pottery area to the north of the site.

Mr Silvester said the centre would have no sides, but would protect visitors from the rain. He added that they were thinking of innovative ways to give visitors information.

Another proposal is to create a walkway from the parking to the chapel, which would be wide enough for everyone to use, including people in wheelchairs and with pushchairs.

This will get pedestrians off the access road, which is used by vehicles heading to the clockmakers and the other tenants at the other end of the road.

A litchgate is planned. Mr Silvester said this was another important way of providing shelter for people visiting the site.

They were also looking at installing a defibrillator – the next nearest ones are at St Saviour’s Community Centre and Rangers Clubhouse.

Mr Silvester said they had been in contact with Guernsey Water and they were looking at installing a water fountain.

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Often visitors arriving at the site were keen to have a drink of water, but they could only buy a bottle.

Mr Silvester said they managed to preserve a number of the trees on site, by taking note of their root area. Three trees will need to come down – two are dead and one has honey fungus – but Mr Silvester said the rest should stay and they were actually planning to plant 50 more trees, as well as English bluebells.

The foundation has been removing the spotted laurels, especially the male plants, which are sterile, so do not benefit the area.

One aspect that will help the trees is replacing the paved car park with a gridforce, which will allow water to get to the tree roots.

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Mr Silvester said under other plans, they were contacting prominent pottery firms, like Wedgwood, to see if they would like to be involved with gardens that were inspired by their wares.

The Little Chapel. Picture by Ben Fiore (27259455)

THE Little Chapel should be added to the protected building register, the chapel foundation chairman has said.

The chapel is not listed currently, although there could be an argument to have it added to the protected building register.

One person who would back the move is foundation chairman John Silvester, who has been involved with the renovation of the site.

Mr Silvester said they were keen to see the site get better protection.

‘We strongly believe that the chapel, once it is finished and made safe, should be properly listed,’ he said.

He said they had been carefully doing the building up, putting it back to how it was before, and had used traditional methods.

‘We used all the methods Brother Deodat would have used,’ he said.

He also advocated that the trees around the site be given tree protection orders, to protect them for future generations.

There is a set criteria for how buildings get listed, which involves looking at whether the structure has special interest, such as historic interest, architectural interest and traditional interest.

In terms of age, buildings constructed between 1900 and 1939 are added to the list if they have significant, definite high quality and character, and will often be the work of important architects, or exceptional examples representing stylistic development in Guernsey.

How rare a structure is and how much of the original building exists is taken into account, as well as the social, cultural or economic importance of a structure.

The structure might also fall into the wider other interest category.

If the structure is listed, it is still possible to do work on it.

Repairs, maintenance and minor alterations can be made without the need for planning permission, under a class 3 exemption.

There are also other exemptions for protected buildings, but they are limited.

If planning permission is needed, the policy is that changes will be supported where they sustain the special interest of the building.

Protection orders are slightly different.

These usually aim to protect under-threat trees and makes it an offence to cut down, lop, top, prune, cut or compact the roots of a tree without permission.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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