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Bishop has shooters in his sights

Created on 13/08/2018 @ 09:08
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

A Bishop has objected to plans to create a commercial shooting facility, as it is close to an ancient holy shire.

The Rural Building Studio has submitted an application to change the use of land at Cwm Dwygo, at Llangynog, near Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant, which is a couple of miles away from the site of St Melangell’s Church.

St Melangell is a sixth century saint who founded a community there akin to a nunnery.

The land used to be part of a large game shooting enterprise known as “Llechwedd y Garth” which closed after the estate was sold last year.

Bishop of St Asaph, The Right Rev Gregory Cameron, has written a letter to Powys County Council urging them to refuse the application.

He believes it would damage the “peace and tranquillity” of the valley around St Melangell’s Church which attracts pilgrims from around the world.

Bishop Gregory said: “Any such permissions would be highly detrimental to the present users of the valley, which include the many pilgrims who come to the valley to visit the Shrine Church of St Melangell.

“As Bishop of St Asaph, the Church of St Melangell is one of my churches, a building which was recently described as the single most holy site in the United Kingdom in a major book describing all such sites across the country.”

The Rural Building Studio, which is making the application, said in documents submitted with their application that they would be using the existing shooting set-up already there.

They said: “The elevated position and protection afforded by the adjacent woodlands and the existing topography limit any potential noise impact – demonstrated by the existing game shoot on the site, which cannot be heard from the village itself.

“Noise levels generated are within permissible levels, even at the closest property and are calculated at 41db (decibels) in the area of St Melangell’s Church, which is considered very low.

“The former game shooting business was a good employer and this proposal will help to extend the season of employment to some of its casual workers and retain the employment of the full time staff.

“Local pub, B&Bs, hotels and shops will also find the seasonality of their businesses may be helped by having a steadier supply of customers throughout the year.”

The Shrine Church of St Melangell is a world class heritage and tourist site. Melangell, or Monacella, is thought to have been the daughter of an Irish king who fled to the valley in the sixth century to escape the marriage that her father planned for her.

On one occasion, while out in the countryside, she sheltered under her cloak a hare that was being hunted by Brochwel Ysgythrog, Prince of Powys, and prevented his hounds from catching it.

Brochwel, impressed by her compassion and courage, gave her the valley where she was living to be a place of sanctuary.

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