Residents ask Chichester Cathedral to rethink proposals to close popular café - ‘It would be a huge mistake’

Chichester residents have asked the cathedral to ‘rethink’ plans to permanently close its café.

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 6:39 pm
The pandemic has presented ‘unforeseen challenges’ for the cathedral which is ‘entirely financially independent’. Photo: Ash Mills

The cathedral opened on Monday for ‘private prayer and reflection’ — following guidance from the Government for churches from the Church of England.

But last week plans were announced for significant changes, with a six-week consultation phase beginning staff members. Read more here

The cathedral said it had to make the ‘difficult decision’ after making a significant financial loss during the coronavirus lockdown.

A number of residents reacted to the news on the Observer Facebook page.

Sue Martin wrote: “This would be a huge loss to the city if closure actually happens.

“The café is so popular with locals and visitors and the setting is second to none. This really needs a rethink.”

Brenda Scanlon said it was a ‘very puzzling situation’, adding: “The café was always busy. Fairly good prices [in a] lovely location. This seems a very shortsighted view to close on a permanent basis as it is more than just a café.

“A place of worship needs a good community place for locals to meet and share a cup of something or a meal.”

Jill Easton said it would be a ‘huge loss’ if the café closes, whilst Wendy Pearce-Vick said it would be a ‘huge mistake’.

She added: “They should do everything to keep it open. One of my favourite places to eat and it’s always busy.”

Kathie Bulbeck agreed. She wrote: “Oh dear, that’s probably the best cafe in Chichester, all that outside space going to waste. Please rethink your decision.”

Chichester Cathedral said the feedback it has received will form part of the six-week consultation process.

A spokesperson added: “We thank those who have taken the time to provide feedback in response to our recent proposals, whether that be through our online briefings, email or on social media.

“Our reflections on what should come next have been based on both our financial outlook, as the cathedral is entirely financially independent, as well as the need to refocus what we do to meet the challenges of the future.”

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