New church is approved

PUBLISHED: 12:32 25 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:07 28 May 2010

A NEW £450,000 ecumenical church for a Fenland parish to replace an Anglican church which collapsed in the mid 1980s, has won the approval of planners. Fenland District Council has given the go-ahead for the Friends of Benwick Church to build the church o

A NEW £450,000 ecumenical church for a Fenland parish to replace an Anglican church which collapsed in the mid 1980s, has won the approval of planners.

Fenland District Council has given the go-ahead for the Friends of Benwick Church to build the church on the site of a former Baptist Chapel.

One of two bells from the original Anglican Church is to be hung in the open porch "so that it may be tolled on occasions".

The Friends hope to create a memorial garden to the rear of the building in memory of those already buried there.

"It is proposed that these remains will be exhumed and reburied in the garden," say the Friends. They also hope some of the existing memorial stones will be erected in the garden.

"Considerable sums of money are required for the exhumations, memorial garden and foundations within a burial site," the Friends say in a report to the council.

"This has meant money available for the building above ground has had to be well considered and used in the best possible way."

The Friends say there is no comparable facility in the village and services are held in the village hall. They had considered using the former Anglican site but "it was apparent this was not popular with the villagers".

The new church has been designed in a rural vernacular style, not dissimilar to a barn, and the shape is "a simple rectangle to reduce costs".

The exterior will be clad with boarding, the final colour of which will be decided after experimentation but is likely to be a soft grey with cream coloured windows.

"The interior, however, will be magnificent as the structure will be an oak frame constructed and erected in the tradition of a medieval barn," say the Friends.

"All the structural timbers will be exposed internally giving the space an instant feeling of history and timelessness.

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