By Richard Shaw LI VF.RPOOL. S Metropolitan Cathedral is to have a multimillion pound make-over.
The cathedral site, which measures about 8.5 acres, contains a number of buildings around its edges , which are now old and empty.
Mgr Peter Cookson, the Cathedral Administrator, described the plans to renovate the area would lead to a great improvements.
"We have put in planning applications for various developments around the edges of the cathedral site," he said.
"Several of the buildings on the edges of the site are redundant and dilapidated. They need replacement.
"The diocesan offices have been moved to new premises and so the old offices are now vacant. Another building, built in the 1950s, has also become free. There is need for development. General tidying up and improvement is required.
"An opportunity has therefore arisen to improve the environment in a number of
ways. One will be by completing the original plan for the main entrance. Access is not very good at the moment.
"The cathedral looks unfinished. It looks chopped-off and some people can't find their way in. We will improve disabled access by this scheme as well as improving the visual appearance of the place."
He explained that the old buildings will be replaced with modern structures to house Liverpool's rising number of high-tech businesses.
"The whole thing revolves around the development of new high technical businesses.
Mgr Cookson said that the cathedral — known popularly as "Paddy's Wigwam" — would join with the surrounding universities to improve the area.
He said: "We are surrounded by the Liverpool universities. We will provide support for these new business. We are in partnership with universities and the city, which wants to see the site improved. The aim is to do something about these empty and ugly buildings.
"It is part of the general rehabilitation of Liverpool city centre and it will be an environmental improvement at the same time," he said.
"We hope that the money will be forthcoming from various development sources. We are not asking the faithful to fund any more money for this scheme.
"The only change to the cathedral will be the creation of the grand entrance. It will be more or less according to the original design of the architect Sir Frederick Gibberd.
"The cathedral has been refurbished and restored over the last few years through the generosity of the diocese. Gradually over the years the cathedral has been adorned with works of art and decoration — some spectacular.
"This work will make for a more complete and more attractive cathedral. Anything that attracts people is welcome," he said.