The Rev Phil Warren has spoken out after lobby group Save Jersey’s Heritage – opponents of the scheme – claimed that the historic fabric of the medieval building had been damaged within two days of work beginning.
Since the scheme – to build an extension to the north of the 800-year-old building to create a toilet and enable disabled access – was given planning approval in 2016, Save Jersey’s Heritage has been working to block the project.
The building plans received the backing of the congregation and the Anglican Church of Jersey.
In response to Save Jersey’s Heritage’s claims, Mr Warren said: ‘The hoarding around the area where the extension will be built has caused no damage whatsoever to the existing stonework. This has been confirmed by the resident archaeologist, Robert Waterhouse (of the Société Jersiaise), working on site, and also by the historic planning officer, Tracy Ingle and Elisabeth Stables from the Planning Department. At a site meeting on Wednesday, it was agreed by all parties to remove the screw fixings that had been put into the mortar to secure the hoarding, and use other means. However after close inspection, Ms Ingle stated categorically that no damage to the west wall stonework had occurred, and was content that work should continue.’
In an attempt to halt the work, Save Jersey’s Heritage approached Mr Warren and asked him to convene an ecclesiastical assembly by 19 January. However, Mr Warren said that he had turned down the request as the planning proposals had already been heard by a higher authority – the Ecclesiastical Court.
In December, the campaign group failed to get St Lawrence Constable Deidre Mezbourian to convene a civic assembly to rescind a decision taken by parishioners in July 2015 to contribute £80,000 towards the works.
The group was also unsuccessful in its efforts to get the planning permit rescinded last autumn.