Letchworth church closes after building inspection highlights significant problems

PUBLISHED: 08:28 18 December 2019

A flower festival was held at Letchworth's St Michael's Church in 2017 to mark 50 years since its consecreation. Picture: Danny Loo

A flower festival was held at Letchworth's St Michael's Church in 2017 to mark 50 years since its consecreation. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

A church has closed after building inspectors found significant problems with its current state of repair.

St Michael's Church in Letchworth has been beset with problems to do with the fabric of the building and its construction. Picture: Robin HallSt Michael's Church in Letchworth has been beset with problems to do with the fabric of the building and its construction. Picture: Robin Hall

Christmas services due to be held at St Michael the Archangel on Letchworth's Broadway will now be held in the adjacent parish hall and at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Letchworth Lane.

The church, which was only dedicated in 1967, was designed by Laurence King with a central space for worship, but has been beset with problems for years.

In a St Albans Diocese parish profile it says: "The building was largely experimental in design and use of materials. The 10-sided space is 'held' together by six panels of stained glass that used a non-traditional method to fix the glass. Inspections of the building prove that inadequate materials were used during construction; for example, the copper roofing is thinner than the copper specified in the original drawings and the building has leaked from the outset.

"The building has been a heavy drain on time and resources. Much remains to be done and it would be a relief to focus on mission and outreach rather than constantly addressing the demise of bricks and mortar."

You may also want to watch:

Every five years, church buildings must be inspected by an architect or chartered building surveyor.

Professional advice following the 2019 Quinquennial Report - as it is known - has resulted in St Michael's closing.

Reverend Robert Kozak, Priest in Charge, said: "We hope the closure will be temporary, but the recent inspection brought to light issues that will require time and resource to correct.

"Meanwhile, we are preparing to welcome the community into alternative venues for our Christmas services. It would be unthinkable not to celebrate Christ's birth, with the Christmas message of peace and goodwill so appropriate as our communities seek to heal divisions in society."

He said it is very much Christmas as usual - with a carol service on Sunday, crib service and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and two services on Christmas Day.

Father Kozak added: "We will keep the community posted about our progress with the building and hope to start work once we have an idea of the scope of works required and raise sufficient funds."

Full details of times and venues for the alternative Christmas services are on the church website letchworthparish.com.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Comet. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the The Comet