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£1m plans for church
7:43am Saturday 2nd March 2013 in News
A VICAR is praying Test Valley councillors will approve his latest £1m bid to extend his Victorian church.
The Rev Julian Williams and parochial church council officials went back to the drawing board last February after borough councillors threw out the original scheme to expand Grade II-listed St John’s at Rownhams.
They claimed Mr Williams’ expansion project would have led to “inappropriate and excessively over-sized additions” to an historic building and would have been “unsympathetic”
to the site and its settings.
But Mr Williams is hoping that councillors will take a different view of his revised scheme, which includes a reduction in the overall size of the proposed additions and building further away from Horns Drove than was originally planned.
The expansion and upgrading of facilities includes installing male and female disabled toilets, putting in modern kitchen facilities, providing an overflow seating area for big services, building an office close to the main entrance of the church, a new meeting room for the parochial church council and youth groups with a seating capacity for 25 people and a new and larger church hall capable of accommodating 100 people standing.
Mr Williams says it is essential the plans are approved because his congregation continues to grow.
“We have revised the scheme, addressing the main concerns raised by the planning committee last year.
“We have pulled the building as far back from the road frontage as we can, and reduced the height of the link and made design alterations that caused the Victorian Society to withdraw its objections,” said Mr Williams.
He added: “We believe that this extension is very important for the future work of our church.
“The current church building, designed in the Victorian era, does not lend itself to the uses to which church buildings are put in the 21st century.
“This development will give the church the facilities needed to both enhance worship and serve both the community and congregation better.
“The existing church hall facilities are far from ideal and need upgrading.
“The proposed extension would greatly improve the environment for users.”