Arlesey church chancel roof ‘declared unsafe’

PART of a 12th century church has been declared structurally unsafe, making it a matter of urgency to raise money for extensive repairs.

In September, The Comet reported how the roof beams in St Peter’s Church on Church Lane in Arlesey are sagging and the east wall is bowing outwards and has developed cracks.

The vicar, Susan Edwards, explained how the damage manifested itself during the summer, but said the building was not dangerous.

However, the chancel - where the altar stands - has now been declared unsafe by a structural engineer and is closed to the public.

The rest of the church remains open and a small temporary altar has been set up for services.

“The chancel is a very important part of the church and is the main focus,” explained Rev Edwards.

“We had the roof inspected and it was found that the original roof beam in the chancel, which has been in place for 900 years, is not very strong anymore and is cracked.

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“It’s supported with scaffolding and has been declared unsafe.

“It was a real shock because originally we thought it would be ok for a while. Now we have a lot more urgency.”

As the church is a Grade I listed building, any work carried out must adhere to strict directives stipulated by English Heritage.

Estimates for the work run into tens of thousands of pounds.

A number of people have volunteered to help with a fundraising campaign. If you would like to join them, call churchwarden Linsey West on 07930410164.

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