Supporters have faith in church arts venue plans
A COUNCIL boss, an architect, a priest and the person in charge of investing £2.5 billion in Ashford will be lobbying for an arts venue at St Mary’s church in two weeks’ time.
The Church of England has applied to create a multi-use space in the body of the church’s nave, suitable for sermons, plays, concerts, exhibitions and wider community use.
St Mary’s priest Colin Preece, architect Nick Lee Evans, Ashford council cultural services boss Mark Carty and Ashford’s Future boss Judith Armitt will be speaking on behalf of the supporters at the hearing on May 21.
Speaking against the £1.3 million proposals will be chairman of the Victorian Society Dr John Scott and Churchyard resident Chris Cooper.
Under the plans there will also be improvements to the lighting, toilets and heating, more comfortable seating and improved disabled access.
The hearing begins at 10.30am and will be presided over by the Commissary General for the Diocese of Canterbury, Richard Walker. He is expected to make a final decision on the plans over the summer.
If given the go-ahead the project will be funded with grants worth £1.2 million, £100,000 from Ashford Borough Council and additional funding from the church.
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The rev Colin Preece