Bid to convert soon-to-be-defunct Sudbury church into community centre launches

Christ Church United Reformed Church is closing in January and Rev Malcolm Hill is one of a few people proposing a public meeting to turn it into a community centre for the town.






Picture: Mecha Morton
Christ Church United Reformed Church is closing in January and Rev Malcolm Hill is one of a few people proposing a public meeting to turn it into a community centre for the town. Picture: Mecha Morton

A plan to turn a soon-to-be-defunct Sudbury church into a community centre has been launched, with a public meeting next month.

Five Sudbury men are behind the scheme to convert Christ Church United Reformed Church in School Street into a community hub.

Lord Andrew Phillips, Roger Green, former chairman of the Friends of St Peter’s, organ builder David Tibbetts-Chaplin, Trinity Singers conductor Stephen Hogger and the Rev Malcolm Hill, who was minister of the church for six years, have arranged a public meeting at the church on Sunday, October 8, at 3pm, to find out what people think.

Mr Hill said: “Sadly, Christ Church is to end its activity of worship on Sunday, January 7, when the final service will take place.

“However, since the announcement of its closure earlier this year, very many individuals and groups in Sudbury have expressed their wish that the premises should be retained and adapted as a community space.

“This is a serious, but exciting, undertaking, which will require much commitment and co-operation from many.”

He said that, should the plan go ahead, a charity would need to be formed to arrange funding, oversee and administer the venue and to support community leaders.

The plan would help to redress a deficiency of community space in Sudbury, say the proposers.

This includes the closure of the Conservative Club and St Gregory’s Church Hall, restricted capacity in the town hall, as well as uncertainty over Delphi Social Club.

Lord Phillips said: “At a time when Sudbury continues to expand, to allow continued loss of public spaces is plain daft. Think of Victoria Hall, St Gregory’s Hall, Belle Vue House and Delphi, to name but a few.

“To now contemplate the loss of the URC for public, as well as church, use would be disastrous.

“Apart from which, it is a lovely and historic building.”

Christ Church United Reformed Church was built in 1838, before being extended in 1891. It is described as having “an excellent Conacher organ”.

Church secretary Chris Proffitt said Christ Church would close at the end of December due to “too few congregation members”.

He said current members will be able go to the United Reformed Church in Long Melford. Although the plan has nothing to do with the church, he said he welcomed “somebody having a go there”.

“If anyone has any suggestions or proposals for the premises in future, or wants to buy the property, they should contact the Eastern Synod of the United Reformed Church in Cambridge,” he said. “It is up to them to decide what happens to the premises in the future.”

Mr Hill asks anyone intending to attend the meeting to call 01787 375503 or email malcolm.hill12@btinternet.com for catering purposes.