cardiff city council

Summer updates for the current affairs regarding the Norwegian church.

The WNS would like to keep a current affairs of where we are on the future of the Norwegian church and is as follows.

Our letter to the editor of Wales Online;

Norwegian society wary of city council

Following up the article of May 22 regarding Cardiff council’s plans for commercial use of the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, the Welsh Norwegian Society would like to explain why we are wary of Cardiff council’s fine words about preserving the integrity of the building.

Cardiff council became the sole trustee of the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust in 2006. Its management of the charity has been woeful since then, as the publicly available information on the Charity Commission’s website shows:

  • Accounts to 2016, 2017, 2018 were submitted 504 days late, 167 days late and 95 days late respectively.

  • The 2017 accounts have an Independent Examiner’s report which qualifies the accounts – in other words indicates that there are particular areas of concern – to quote:

* The Annual Report and Financial Return related to financial period 2016/17 has not been completed in accordance with the Charity Commission legal statutory and public accountability requirements.

* Governance procedures were not transparent and there appeared to be evidence of a lack of good governance, risk management and internal control as specified by the Charity Commission.

  • The latest set of accounts for 2018, which were submitted 95 days late on 7th May 2019 include a comment from the Independent Examiner – to quote:

* Formal Trustee had not been held during the year as specified by the Charity Commission.

* Inventory Records detailing Norwegian Church assets are not maintained.

The last point is particularly worrying as there are a number of important historical artefacts held in the church.

Based on this information, and its public statements, we are concerned that Cardiff council does not understand its responsibilities under charity law and may be mismanaging the charity. The church is not a building owned by Cardiff council. It is held in charity on behalf of the public with Cardiff council as a trustee tasked with ensuring its protection for future generations. It is not just a commercial opportunity.

Tyra Oseng-Rees

Chair Welsh Norwegian Society

Source: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/western-mail-letters-thursday-23-16317347


Church not part of council’s portfolio

Your article of May 22 “Concerns over future of church” misses an important moral and legal point about the Norwegian Church.

Significant charitable donations and grants have been given from Norway and Wales over the years to rebuild, and later refurbish, the Norwegian Church. In the 1980s a huge donation of 1 million kroner (about £90,000) raised in Norway helped to lever further donations from many Welsh organisations and the public of Wales.

The Norwegian Church is still owned by the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust, which is a charity; it is not just another part of the council’s property portfolio. Cardiff council may be the only trustee of the charity, but the council cannot simply convert this public asset to a purely commercial venture.

The Welsh Norwegian Society, of which I have been a member for over 20 years, is also calling for public consultation so the public can have their say about the future of this iconic visitor attraction, which is such a powerful symbol of Cardiff’s maritime heritage and the multicultural history of Cardiff. I am half-Norwegian, and having visited the Norwegian Church regularly over the years, I know it is much loved by locals and visitors alike.

The coffee shop, art exhibitions, and events in the church are open to everyone. It is a focal point of Cardiff Bay, and has been developed as a public space dedicated to the communities of Cardiff and beyond.

If members of the public share our concerns, they can contact the Welsh Norwegian Society on contact@welshnorwegian.org

Christine Glossop

Penarth

Source: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/western-mail-letters-friday-24-16323564


BELOW IS PRINTED IN AFTENPOSTEN, NORWAYS HIGHEST PROFILE NEWSPAPER - This is how important the church is, not just to Wales or Norwegians in Wales, but Norway itself, still to this day.

Frykter ny leietager i norsk kirke i Wales

Nordmenn i Wales er bekymret for frem- tiden til en av de eldste norske kirkene i utlandet. Lokale myndigheter ønsker å utnytte det «kommersielle potensialet».

Det verste scenarioet er at det vil komme en McDonald’s eller Starbucks-kafé i kirken, sier Tyra Oseng-Rees, styreleder i foreningen Welsh Norwegian Society - en av de flittigste brukerne av kirken.

Utspillet er satt på spissen, men bakgrunnen for usikkerheten om kirkens fremtid er et vedtak byrådet i Cardiff gjorde i november i fjor. Da besluttet politikerne i regionen at kirkebygget skulle leies ut.

- Men over et halvt år etter vet vi fortsatt ingenting om hvilke planer kommunen har, forteller Oseng-Rees.

Kirken til Roald Dahls foreldre

Det er ikke første gang fremtiden til den historiske trekirken fra 1869 har vært uviss. På 1970 og -80-tallet sto den til forfall, og kirken måtte rives for å gi plass til et nytt veiprosjekt over dokkene i Cardiff.

Men takket være betydelige innsamlede midler - blant annet fra Norge - ble kirken bygget opp igjen på en tomt ikke langt unna. Den gjenoppbygde og nyrestaurerte kirken ble åpnet av prinsesse Märtha Louise i 1992. Siden den gang har den fungert som et norsk-walisisk kultursenter.

Kirken er kanskje mest kjent for å være Roald Dahls kirke. Dahls norske far arbeidet i Cardiff, og den senere verdenskjente forfatteren ble døpt i kirken i 1916. Han tilbrakte sine barneår i byen, før han ble sendt på kostskole i England.

Dahl var på slutten av 1980-tallet aktiv i arbeidet med å få gjenreist kirken. Han døde imidlertid to år før den «nye» kirken sto ferdig.

I 2002 ble plassen utenfor kirken gitt navnet Roald Dahls Plass. For å understreke hans norske herkomst, ble ordet plass valgt - ikke place eller square.

Det kommersielle potensialet

Siden kirken ble gjenreist, har det skjedd en enorm utvikling i områdene som omkranser Cardiff-bukten. Nye hoteller, kontorbygg og butikker er bygd.

Det er ikke kjent om noen eiendomsaktør har vist interesse for tomten der kirken ligger.

Bakgrunnen for at denne saken er kommet opp, er at kommunen må kutte ca. 2,6 milliarder kroner de neste ti årene. Kommunen ser derfor på mulighetene for redusere utgiftene til en rekke bygg, inkludert den norske kirken.

- Kirkens integritet skal tas vare på. Når det er sagt, ønsker vi å realisere det kommersielle potensialet som utvilsomt ligger der. Det er behov for en betydelig oppgradering av kirkebygget, men vi trenger nye samarbeidspartnere for å få det til, opplyser en talsperson for kommunen til Aftenposten.

Hvilke mulige leietagere myndighetene i Cardiff kan tenke seg i kirkebygget, ønsker ikke kommunen å kommentere.

- Men ingen beslutning om kirkens fremtid er foreløpig tatt, understrekes det.

Mat for jurister

Det er ikke gitt at Cardiff kommune kan gjøre som de vil med kirkebygget. Kirken eies av en såkalt «trust» - The Norwegian Church Preservation Trust.

I denne veldedige «trusten» - en organisasjonsform som har likhetstrekk med en stiftelse - utgjør Cardiff kommune i dag den eneste «trustee’en» - eller styremedlemmet. De er forpliktet til å følge «trustens» formål: Permanent bevaring og vedlikehold av kirken som et museum og kultursenter.

- Kommunen kan ikke bare konvertere denne offentlige formuen til en ren kommersiell virksomhet, skriver Christine Glossop, medlem i Welsh Norwegian Society, i et leserinnlegg i avisen Western Mail.

Drar til Cardiff

Synspunktet til den norsk-walisiske foreningen får støtte fra rådgiver Terje Inderhaug i Hordaland fylkeskommune.

Inderhaug spilte en nøkkelrolle da kommuner og fylkeskommuner på Vestlandet ga én million kroner til gjenreising av kirken i 1992.

Han arbeider nå med forberedelsene til kirkens 150-års jubileum i desember, men er også blitt involvert i denne saken. Han tror ikke politikere på Vestlandet vil sitte stille og se på at Cardiff gjør store endringer med kirken. I slutten av juli drar han til Wales for å diskutere saken med representanter for kommunen.

- Kirken betyr også veldig mye for Cardiff. Derfor håper jeg at denne saken løser seg. Når det blir sagt at man frykter at McDonald’s skal flytte inn, så er nok det satt litt på spissen, sier han.

Den norske kirke i Cardiff ble reist for 150 år siden. Fremtiden er imidlertid uviss, etter at Cardiff kommune har antydet at den ønsker at kirken skal få en sterkere kommersiell profil. Foto: Carlos Neto, Shutterstock, NTB scanpix

Arnfinn Mauren

Frykter ny leietager i norsk kirke i Wales

Source: https://www.e-pages.dk/aftenposten/90169/article/938301/14/1/render/?token=e3e277c60cb9bd3f6ce58fb2124494bc

Translation of above;

Fears new tenant in the Norwegian church in Wales

Norwegians in Wales are concerned about the future of one of the oldest Norwegian churches abroad. Local authorities want to exploit the "commercial potential". 

“The worst scenario is that there will be a McDonald's or Starbucks café in the church”, says Tyra Oseng-Rees, chairman of the Welsh Norwegian Society - one of the most diligent users of the church.

This is an exaggerated statement to make a point , but the background for the uncertainty about the future of the church is a decision the city council in Cardiff made last November when politicians in the region decided that the church building would be rented.

 “But over half a year after, we still know nothing about what plans the municipality has”, says Oseng-Rees. 

The church of Roald Dahl’s parents

It is not the first time the future of the historic wooden church from 1869 has been uncertain. In the 1970s and 80s the church was in ruins, and it had to be demolished to make room for a new road project to the docks in Cardiff.

However, thanks to substantial fundraising, including from Norway, the church was rebuilt on an plot not far away. The rebuilt and newly restored church was opened by Princess Märtha Louise in 1992. Since then it has functioned as a Norwegian-Welsh cultural centre.

The church is perhaps best known for being Roald Dahl's church. Dahl's Norwegian father worked in Cardiff, and the world-renowned author was baptized in the church in 1916. He spent his childhood years in the city, before he was sent to boarding school in England.

Dahl, at the end of the 1980s, was active in the effort to rebuild the church. However, he died two years before the "new" church was completed.

In 2002, the space outside the church was named Roald Dahls Plass. To emphasize his Norwegian ancestry, the word ‘plass’ was chosen - not place or square.

The commercial potential

Since the church was rebuilt, there has been a tremendous development in the areas surrounding Cardiff Bay. New hotels, office buildings and shops are built.

It is not known whether any property operator has shown interest in the plot where the church is located.

The reason the church is now on the agenda is that the council must cut approximately 2.6 billion kroner over the next ten years. The city council is therefore looking at the possibilities for reducing the expenditure of a number of buildings, including the Norwegian church.

“The integrity of the church will be taken care of. That said, we want to realise the commercial potential that is undoubtedly located there. There is a need for a substantial upgrade of the church building, but we need new partners to achieve it,” a Cardiff Council spokesperson told Aftenposten.

The council did not want to comment on what possible tenants they can imagine in the church building.

“But no decision on the future of the church has currently been made,” highlighted the spokesperson.

A case for the experts 

It is not a given that Cardiff Council can do what they want with the church building. The church is owned by a so-called ‘trust’ - The Norwegian Church Preservation Trust.

In this charitable trust – an organisational form that has similarities to a foundation – Cardiff Council is currently the only ‘trustee’ or board member. They are obliged to follow the trust’s purpose: Permanent preservation and maintenance of the Church as a museum and cultural centre.

“The council cannot just convert this public fortune into a purely commercial business,” writes Christine Glossop, a member of the Welsh Norwegian Society, in a letter in the Western Mail newspaper.

Going to Cardiff

The viewpoint of the Welsh Norwegian Society is supported by adviser Terje Inderhaug in Hordaland County Council.

Inderhaug played a key role when municipalities and county councils in western Norway gave one million kroner to rebuild the church in 1992.

He is now working on preparations for the Church's 150 anniversary in December, but has also become involved in this issue. He does not believe politicians in western Norway will sit and watch Cardiff make major changes to the church. In late July he travels to Wales to discuss the case with representatives of Cardiff Council.

“The church also means a lot to Cardiff. That's why I hope this case resolves itself. When it is said that one fears that McDonald's is going to move in, it’s probably taken to the extreme,” he said.

Written by Arnfinn Mauren, Aftenposten.

Translated from Norwegian by WNS member Mari Ropstad


Cardiff Bay controversial Dolffin Quay development plans withdrawn

The Welsh Norwegian Society, having objected to the plan to build on a large scale in Cardiff Bay (which would overshadow the Norwegian Church) is very relieved that the plan has been dropped.

Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Cardiff Bay

Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Cardiff Bay

The Norwegian Seamen’s Church has been “a little piece of Norway” in the dock area of Cardiff for 150 years, and when it ceased to function as a seamen’s church, it first was adopted by Lutheran congregations around Cardiff but was eventually closed in the 1970s.  A Trust was formed so that the very characteristic church building might be saved, and in due course the Church was demolished and rebuilt on its present site, being reopened as the Norwegian Church Arts Centre by Princess Märtha Louise of Norway in April 1992.  Many people involved with the Trust helped to start the Welsh Norwegian Society which has met at the Norwegian Church since 1995 and has ever since been a means of promoting and  disseminating Norwegian culture and bringing together those with an interest in Norway, including many of Norwegian nationality and descent.  The Church and the Society alike have benefited from the Cardiff Hordaland twinning link.

Save the Norwegian Church's waterfront park setting

We need to protect the Norwegian Church's iconic setting on the waterfront of Cardiff Bay from the proposed Associated British Ports (ABP) Dolffin Quay development.

Planning Ref: 17/01848/MJR 

This development would overshadow and overcrowd the Norwegian Church and its waterfront setting, surrounding it with a collection of residential and commercial buildings, including a 24-storey apartment block.

The Norwegian Church is one of the most recognised and well-loved buildings in Cardiff Bay. Since it was reopened as a cultural centre on the waterfront of Cardiff Bay in 1992 it has been appreciated, by residents and visitors alike, as one of the few historic buildings that convey the history of Cardiff Bay; a symbol of Cardiff's rich multicultural past.

If the Dolffin Quay development were allowed to go ahead, the open views of the iconic Norwegian Church from around the Bay, and its Waterfront Park setting would be gone forever.

We call upon Cardiff Council to reject this application from ABP and ensure any future development of this area is sensitive, and preserves the Waterfront Park setting of the Norwegian Church for residents and visitors alike.

Please show your support by clicking here to visit change.org and sign the petition.

This petition will be delivered to:

  • Cardiff Council

Save the green space around the Norwegian Church from property developers

The Welsh Norwegian Society appeal to save the green space around the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay.

 

Click here to visit change.org and show your opposition to the plans to develop the last remaining green space in Cardiff Bay into a collection of residential and commercial buildings.

The below message is taken from the #SaveOurBae campaign which has been set up to petition Cardiff City Council and oppose the development.

                                          #SaveOurBae

We need to protect Cardiff Bay's Britannia and Waterfront Parks from the proposed Association of British Ports (ABP) Dolffin Quay development. This development would replace the last remaining green space in Cardiff Bay with a collection of residential and commercial buildings.

The grassed area and children’s playground on the Britannia Park site are the last remaining ones of their kind easily available to local families with children in the area.

Cardiff Bay is a unique and world renowned waterfront. Britannia Park has been a vital part of Cardiff Bay since 1993. It is much loved, not only by Cardiff residents, but also by visitors who come to enjoy the outside spaces, art and heritage.

Most properties in Cardiff Bay are without gardens. It is vital that we protect the only remaining green space.

We therefore call upon Cardiff City Council to reject any application from ABP that would remove the Britannia and Waterfront Parks.

Join our campaign to #saveourbae and protect Cardiff Bay's last green space.

 

                                        ***********************

 

Y mae'n rhaid inni amddiffyn parciau Britannia a Waterfront Bae Caerdydd rhag y datblygiad a gynigiwyd gan Gymdeithas Porthladdoedd Prydain (ABP). Fe fyddai'r datblygiad yma yn cael gwared o'r man gwyrdd diwethaf yn y Bae i wneud lle i gasgliad o adeiladau preswyl a masnachol. Y man gwyrdd a'r cae chwarae plant ym Mharc Britannia yw'r diwethaf o'u math yn yr ardal sydd ar gael yn hawdd i deuluoedd lleol a'u plant. Y mae Bae Caerdydd yn unigryw gyda enw byd eang. Y mae Parc Britannia wedi bod yn  rhan hanfodol o Fae Caerdydd er 1993

Y mae pawb wrth eu bodd gyda'r parc. Y mae'n cael ei fwynhau nid yn unig gan bobl sydd yn byw yng Nghaerdydd, ond hefyd gan ymwelwyr sydd yn dod i fanteisio ar y mannau agored, y celfyddyd a'r hanes yma. Y mae rhan fwyaf o'r cartrefi ym Mae Caerdydd heb ardd. Y mae'n holl bwysig i warchod yr unig fannau gwyrdd ar ol. Galwn felly ar Gyngor Prifddinas Caerdydd i wrthod unrhyw gais datblygu oddi wrth ABP a fyddai'n lleihau neu gael gwared ar Parciau Britanni a Waterfront. 

 
Ymunwch a'n ymgyrch i warchod ein bae (#saveourbae)- y man gwyrdd agored olaf yn y bae.