Major renovation of Stevenage's oldest building given go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 08:30 07 March 2019

St Nicholas Church, which is the oldest building in Stevenage. Picture: Trevor Coultart

St Nicholas Church, which is the oldest building in Stevenage. Picture: Trevor Coultart

© Trevor Coultart 2016

The green light has been given for the major renovation and modification of a Grade I listed church - the oldest building in Stevenage.

Permission has been granted by the chancellor of the Diocese of St Albans to proceed with the plans for St Nicholas Church, which include a new stone floor throughout the nave and chancel, a new energy efficient lighting system and under-floor heating.

Improvements to the Rectory Lane church, which has a 900-year-old tower and 14th century spire, will also include a new internal layout – re-siting many of the wooden screens to create a more flexible space for worship, private prayer, a creche and an area for musicians.

The in-fill of the arches between the church and parish room will be replaced with glazed panels to allow greater light into the church, a new floor above the parish room will provide a meeting space, and the audio-visual systems will be upgraded.

Herts County Council member Phil Bibby has given a £2,000 grant from his locality budget to the project and £15,300 has been awarded by grant-giving charity Allchurches Trust.

Along with money raised by the congregation, this means more than 75 per cent of the funding is now in place.

The parish’s executive committee is confident the final £210,000 will be raised in time for work to start in May.

The rector, Dave Brown, said: “The grants from Councillor Bibby and Allchurches Trust have given us a huge boost in our fundraising efforts. We are very grateful for their generosity and support.

“Having received these grants and the permission required to do this much-needed work in quick succession, we sense God’s hand at work and are confident the rest of the money will be found.”

Paul Playford, Allchurches Trust grants officer, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support these ambitious plans. Not only will these improvements help protect a heritage gem for future generations, they will transform St Nicholas’ community offer, bringing people of all ages into the building for a wide range of activities.”

To help raise funds, there will be an illustrated talk by Antarctic marine biologist Dr Susie Hailey at the church at 7.30pm on March 23. For £10 tickets call Peter Gordon on 01438 746110.

To make a donation, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search for ‘The Friends of St Nicholas Stevenage’.

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