Little Chapel visitor centre not warranted
I AM quite appalled by the proposals recently highlighted in the Guernsey Press regarding the building of a visitor centre at the Little Chapel.
This is not only a great visitor attraction, but also a place of tranquillity, and for many people a place of worship, and not simply a commercial enterprise.
I believe the Little Chapel Foundation have carried out a great deal of work in making the site safer and more pleasing on the eye, and should rightly be commended for this. However, the thought of having an unnecessary modern visitor centre alongside this unique location would ruin all of the good work that has been carried out.
I know, from taking guests to visit the chapel over the last few years, that Martyn Guille’s silversmiths shop has made its toilets available for all visitors, and I understand that this is greatly appreciated by tour and bus companies when taking cruise ship passengers to visit. I am also aware that plans have been approved to have a cafe there.
To suggest asking the States of Guernsey to approve the funding of more than £1m. for such an unnecessary scheme is quite astonishing, particularly when funding for States projects in general is quite restricted, and when (to my mind) much more important projects are desperate for this States funding.
The desire to sell Little Chapel merchandise will only demean what is a superb experience for the many visitors who take the time to go there and I am sure that this is not what the Brothers envisaged when gifting the site to the people of Guernsey – indeed, I suspect that they would be quite appalled.
I am also rather bemused by the claim that visitor numbers have ‘probably quadrupled’ since the restoration work has been carried out, but there is no evidence to support this claim. It would appear simply to be made in order to boost the chances of receiving States funding.
The Little Chapel Foundation claim that they are acting on behalf of the property owners – the people of Guernsey – but I wonder how many of the people of Guernsey actually want to see this proposed modern centre being attached to this unique site, particularly when considering how much of the trees, foliage and land around the chapel would need to be cleared. I for one certainly do not want to see this centre taking shape there, or any funding being provided by the States of Guernsey for such an unwarranted project.
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