Decision time for church plans?
A DECISION on whether to allow St Mary’s church in Ashford to be turned into an arts venue could be made next week.
The Church of England has applied to create a multiuse space in the body of the church’s nave, suitable for sermons, plays, concerts, exhibitions and wider community use.
If a decision is not made it could rumble on into the summer.
St Mary’s priest Colin Preece, architect Nick Lee Evans, Ash- ford 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 Friday, May 21.
Speaking against the £1.3 million proposals will be chairman of the Victorian Society Dr John Scott and Churchyard resident Chris Cooper.
Also voicing their opposition will be residents Jeremy Adby and Andrew Buchanan, church congregation member Joan Willmore, petitioner Jack Cowen and ward councillor Bob Packham.
Under the plans there would also be improvements to the lighting, toilets and heating, more comfortable seating and improved disabled access.
The hearing at the church begins at 10.30am and will be presided over by the Commissary General for the Diocese of Canterbury, Richard Walker.
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.