Even within environmentally sensitive areas planning permission to reopen historic building stone quarries is possible, as Emily Harper and Sue Penaluna explain in their article on the repair of Exeter Cathedral from IHBC’s membership journal Context, No. 154, themed on ‘Working with Lime and Stone’.
image: by Exeter Cathedral
Emily Harper and Sue Penaluna write:
Like most historic cathedrals, Exeter Cathedral was built, altered and repaired over many centuries using many different types of stone, often dictated by fashion and availability. It is estimated that nearly 30 different types of stone are present in the fabric of the cathedral. The predominant material for the inner and outer walls is Salcombe stone, a fawn, grey-weathering, medium-to-coarse calcareous limestone from the Lower Cretaceous period1, which was historically quarried from the Salcombe Regis area in East Devon. This stone, particularly valued for external facing work due to its durability, is found in many church buildings across East Devon.
The Dunscombe Manor Quarry permission enables the Exeter Cathedral authorities to repair the Grade I listed structure using appropriate local stone. The stone taken from the most recent extraction is currently being used in the cathedral’s restoration programme, including carving four new corbels: a poppy, the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club emblem, an eagle owl and a crown. These have been added to the eastern end.
It is encouraging that it is possible to enable small-scale schemes in environmentally sensitive areas. The willingness of all the agencies to engage in the process and carry out careful pre-application discussions, recog-nising the scale of the proposal, and being proportionate in their approach to the likely impacts, has led to a successful outcome. It is disappointing that only one of the schemes has been implemented but noteworthy that the Beer Caves project was not hampered in any way by planning legislation.
The small scale of both proposals led to the conclusion through careful screening that an environmental impact assessment would not be required, which would have led to considerable additional expenditure on the part of the applicant and would probably have stopped both proposals from coming forward as applications. It is hoped that other such small-scale proposals can be brought forward to ensure the availability of local stones appropriate for conservation projects…
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