Major renovation of Stevenage’s oldest building given go-ahead
- Credit: Â© 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.
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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.
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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’.