De­ci­sion time for church plans?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

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.

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