24th Nov, 2020

Portable loo plonked on grave in Coventry cathedral quarter at Holy Trinity Church

Felix Nobes 29th May, 2019 Updated: 29th May, 2019

A PORTABLE LOO  has been plonked on a grave in Coventry’s cathedral conservation area.

A skip, builders’ cabins and vehicles have also been dumped around gravestones in the graveyard at Holy Trinity Church, Priory Row, city centre, in the internationally important tourist hotspot, our photos taken today (May 29) show.

Builders have been installing much-needed new toilets at the Grade I listed building, part of city’s medieval quarter.

They have also been repairing its roof which would see the church removed from Historic England’s register of ‘at-risk’ places.

It has sparked outrage on social media, with our pictures showing the portable loo immediately in front of a facing headstone.

Some commenters slamming workers for showing ‘no respect’ for the dead, while one said it made them want to cry.

Local campaigner Richard Heneghan tweeted: “We are City of Culture but we permit people to park their vans and take dumps on top of graves?”

The church’s secretary to the buildings committee, Bill Johnson, said: “It is distressing to hear that people have been upset by the positioning of site cabins and a portaloo on our graveyard.

“I have been assured by our contractors that all cabins etc. have been strategically placed so as to avoid the gravestones and monuments in our graveyard.

“Site space is extremely cramped, yet our contractors have managed to locate site personnel and site facilities in a small area, without causing disruption to a working church and without causing damage to an important part of our national heritage.”

The church was in November registered as being ‘at risk’ and needing essential maintenance to ensure its long-term future.

Important works to repair the roof over the North Transept and the Archdeacon’s Court area are to be completed in the coming months.

Director of building contractor Midlands Conservation Limited (MCL), Jason Graham, told us: “We agreed a location for the toilet that was positioned between two back to back graves in a very difficult area of the churchyard to erect a site compound.

“It is always an unsightly addition to a contractors’ compound and now we have completed the construction of a new toilet block extension for the church the temporary site facility will be leaving site very soon.

“This is the fourth phase of essential restoration work that MCL have been commissioned to undertake by the church and on each occasion a similar size compound has always been delicately positioned around the graveyard to try and avoid all direct contact to the graves.”

Both projects have gained permission from the Diocesan Advisory Committee – which is equivalent to being granted listed building consent – as well as from Coventry City Council.

No new grave has been dug on the site since 1855 when the yard closed.

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