Following the submission of a planning application to erect fencing on the south side of the Cathedral, around an area known as the south green, The Very Revd Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln said that she wishes to reassure everyone that the Cathedral has always, and continues to support rough sleepers and other vulnerable people in a wide variety of ways.

“The purpose of the proposed railings is to provide protection and keep people safe from harm; that includes those who have been sleeping in the Galilee Porch.

“Lincoln Cathedral is on Historic England’s Buildings at Risk Register. Recent surveys have revealed the risk of falling masonry on that part of the Cathedral and there are currently temporary barriers to prevent people entering that space. We know that some of our rough sleepers were camping in that area last year and obviously, that puts them at a significant risk of harm.

“The porch itself is a dark and secluded part of the Cathedral and we know that vulnerable rough sleepers were being exploited by other less respectful individuals while taking shelter. There are many other spaces around the building, which offer a safer space than the Galilee Porch, which continue to be used by rough sleepers. However, ultimately our aim is to help people access the support they need to find more permanent accommodation and professional support.”

The purpose of the fencing is to ensure that the Cathedral is a safe environment for all, and also to protect the fragile, historic fabric of the building and the surrounding area. The south green contains a number of historic burials and vehicles parking in the grass are damaging grave markers and below ground remains. The proposed fencing would enable this area to be fully protected.

Dean Christine added, “In addition to protecting people, as the current custodians of the Cathedral we have a responsibility to protect the historic fabric of the building for future generations. A fire was lit in the Galilee Porch, and we are conscious of ensuring that we do not have another situation like that at Notre Dame.”

The design will match that around the newly developed Dean’s Green on the North side of the building. Historic maps and plans of the Cathedral show that there used to be railings in the same location and it is believed that these were removed as part of the war effort in the 1930s.

Dean Christine said, “Lincoln Cathedral is a place of welcome for those seeking support, worship or shelter, and pastoral care is at the heart of our daily ministry and mission. We offer food, drinks and clothing to those who need it, as well as toiletry packages and a private space to wash. We work closely with local authorities and charities to ensure people receive appropriate support and care, and the Cathedral is pleased to have been able to assist in helping arrange medical assistance, mental health assessments and ultimately helping to get people into accommodation.

“Our doors are very much open to everyone and we encourage anyone to come and seek the support they need, be that spiritual or practical.”