St Ethelburga's site to be developed

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A COMPETITION was launched yesterday to find a suitable way of developing the site formerly occupied by St Ethelburga's, the medieval church in the City of London almost destroyed by the IRA last year, writes Charles Oulton.

The winning scheme, which is expected to be chosen by Christmas, may include offices or a restaurant, but will have to include plans for at least part of the site to be set aside for Christian worship, probably as a chapel. A reconstruction of St Ethelburga's is one possibility. It will also have to include a memorial to those who died in the bombs of 1992 and 1993.

The scheme will be judged by the Bishop of London, Dr David Hope, and his advisers after consultation with English Heritage and other conservation organisations, including the Friends of St Ethelburga's.

In a statement issued at yesterday's launch, the group said it welcomed the competition but expressed concern at the possibility of a 'vulgar commercialisation of a 900-year-old sacred site for financial gain'.

It also questioned how commercial developers could reassemble the fragments of the church when profit was their motive.

The competition was launched on behalf of the Diocese of London by chartered surveyors Weatherall Green & Smith.