Planning permission has been submitted to Longford Town Council for the structural reconstruction of St Mel’s Cathedral, bringing the project one step closer to re-construction.
Much of this part of the application process centres around the proposal to insert a flat-bed concrete slab floor and new steel trusses for the roof, despite much of the original floor and roof being supported by timber.
As a protected structure under the Planning and Development Act 2000, the rebuild of St Mel’s Cathedral will have to adhere to strict rules to protect and respect the original building.
The design team have concluded that the reconstructed Cathedral must have improved performance in fire both for preservation of life and the preservation of the monument itself. As is well known, the interior of the structure is almost entirely lost and the decision has been made to reinstate much of the interior in a historically verifiable like-for-like manner.
However, the design team have concluded that a new concrete sub floor supported independently from the historic structure will provide the best design solution to improve the fire performance of the Cathedral. They also believe this will allow the highest standard of interior finishes in the future, as well as improved environmental and thermal performance.
The report states it is necessary to remove the surviving mosaic floors, as the sub-structure of the aisles cannot be retained due to fire damage. Prior to any removal, surviving mosaic finishes will be recorded, carefully removed and boxed to be stored for possible re-use.
To read this story in full, see this week’s Longford Leader.