Much-loved former church earmarked for renovation

HOPEFUL: Roger Green with renovation plans for St Peter's.
HOPEFUL: Roger Green with renovation plans for St Peter's.
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One of Sudbury’s most iconic buildings could be given a new lease of life if ambitious refurbishment plans come to fruition.

Negotiations have begun into proposals to build toilets, modernise the kitchen and improve rear access to the Grade I listed St Peter’s on Market Hill.

Although Roger Green, chairman of the Friends of St Peter, said the plans were in their early stages, he admitted the possibility of the work being carried out was an “exciting prospect”.

“We have had meetings with various bodies, including English Heritage, but everything is still very much in its infancy,” he said.

“We are in discussions and do not know how it will all pan out but we are looking positively at it.”

The 600-year-old building has undergone numerous renovation projects in recent times, with money being spent on its south porch and the roof of the north aisle.

Although it was closed as a placed of worship in 1971, it has remained a focal point of the town with concerts, organ recitals, craft fairs and the monthly farmers’ market all held there.

Mr Green said if the refurbishment was completed, it could mean it being made available to more groups and visitors.

“We need to raise the funding, which would be in excess of £200,000 and probably nearer £300,000, so it could be a long wait,” said Mr Green, who lives in Friars Street and has been chairman of the friends group for more than 20 years.

“It is a very sensitive building and is right at the heart of the town. We want to produce something that is of the highest order and makes Sudbury proud.

“If we can do it, then it would make the building a more welcoming and hospitable place.”

The 67-year-old said he hoped progress on the plans could be made to allow work to start in early 2015, when the building, which attracts around 60,000 visitors every year, is at its quietest.

“If we could do something around January or February that would be best as there aren’t as many events going on then,” he said.

“We are making bids for funding and consulting at the moment but everything is frozen. Hopefully we can do something that stands the test of time.”

Mr Green added that he wanted future generations to enjoy the building and he was keen to encourage more young people to join the Friends of St Peter.

Anyone interested in the group should visit www.stpeterssudbury.co.uk.