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St Peter’s Seminary Trust object to proposals to stabilise college

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November 19 2004

St Peter’s Building Preservation Trust is no longer supporting the archdiocese planning application to build 28 houses on the site of St. Peter’s College. The trust withdrew its support because it believes the current proposals to stabilise the A-listed Gillespie, Kidd and Coia college buildings on the site, could make re-use of the building extremely difficult. The trust is urging the archdiocese to reassess its current proposals.
The proposals, which were lodged in July and were due to go to planning committee in December, have also been criticised by the Twentieth Century Society. Cordula Zeilder of the Twentieth Century Society claims in a letter to the planners that the current proposals for St Peter‚s “would lead to their end as pieces of architecture”. The planners are still awaiting responses from consultees and are unlikely to be ready to present the application in December.

The Peter’s Preservation Trust were asked to become the custodian of St. Peter’s College by Classical House, the Archdiocese agent, in spring 2004. “Following heated discussions about the nature of the proposed consolidation we decided to support the application with the hope that we could influence the character of the proposed stabilisation work as the project progressed,” said John Deffenbaugh, the director of the trust. “We wrote a letter of ‘in principle’ support to accompany the Archdiocese planning report in early July 2004, based on the outline documentation for the application. We believed that the application could act as a springboard for the future re-use of the college and felt we had to seize the opportunity,” he added. The trust has reviewed the complete application and set up a design team to look at alternatives to the proposals for the treatment of the College drawn up by Clyde Design Partnership, the Archdiocese engineers. They are planning a design competition to raise the profile of the building and provoke discussion about re-use.

“We are very disappointed. The Trust is founded on a passion and respect for the category A-listed buildings that make up St. Peter’s College, and we have always been optimistic of resolving problems through the planning process. However, following the advice from our design team and further consideration of issues raised by our lawyer, we feel that we would be doing St Peters a serious disservice if we were to continue to support the proposals as they stand,” said Deffenbaugh.

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