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Manchester moves into prefab

28 March 2013

WORSHIPPERS at Manchester Cathedral, a Grade I listed building, will next week swap its Gothic splendour for a timber prefab, as builders move in for a £2-million refurbishment.

A mock-Tudor "church-on-the-street" has been erected beside the west front of the cathedral to provide a home for many of its activities over the next eight months. "It is like a Lego-type building which can be dismantled and moved to another venue," the Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd Rogers Govender, said.

The Bishop of Middleton, the Rt Revd Mark Davies, dedicated the building on Monday.

After Easter, staff will begin stripping the nave of the cathedral of all its furnishings, ready for contractors to install a "green" heating-system to replace an inadequate 1950s one. "We are going green with this new innovative, ground-source heating-system, using geothermal technology," the Dean said.

Ground-source heat-pumps will provide 80 per cent of the heating, making Manchester one of the greenest cathedrals in the UK. Gas boilers will top up temperatures when it is exceptionally cold. The work will also enable the installation of an organ to replace one destroyed by bombs in the Second World War.

The "pop-up" cathedral has been made possible by recent pedestrianisation of the street. Much of the £400,000 cost has been covered by Manchester City Council, which will use the building for events during the summer, and Nikal Ltd, a neighbouring property development company.

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