Designs for the £1million refurbishment of St Peter’s in Sudbury have been released with residents asked to give their thoughts on the plans.
The designs for works including a kitchen, toilet facilities and a viewing gallery to improve one of Sudbury’s best-loved buildings were released today ahead of a series of open days.
The proposed plans are intended to modernise the interior of St Peter’s Church on Market Hill, which it is hoped will help maintain its position at the heart of community life in Sudbury.
The plans include a design for an impressive looking mezzanine floor viewing gallery and enhanced food service and visitor facilities.
It is hoped these additions will bring new groups to the building, especially during quieter periods during the week, though the former church already attracts more than 60,000 visitors a year.
Friends of St Peter’s chairman Roger Green said organisations such as parent and toddler groups were put off by the lack of facilities, while other features would bring visitors to the town into the church.
Friends of St Peter’s is a volunteer-run charity that looks after the church.
It has been working with the church’s owners, The Churches Conservation Trust to develop the plans.
To assist with funding opportunities and grant requests the church is asking residents what they think of the designs.
Three open days are being held in St Peter’s from Thursday, January 28 to Saturday 30, where visitors will be able to look at the plans and speak to members of the Friends of St Peter’s and Churches Conservation Trust about the proposals.
The organisers want people to tell them what they think about the plans and what they would like to see St Peter’s used for.
Saturday’s open day will be a family day with a range of activities for children.
The feedback from the open days will be used to put together a final planning application that will also be used to attract funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other organisations
Peter Gray from the Friends of St Peter’s said: “St Peter’s occupies a unique position in the townscape and cultural life of Sudbury.
“It is already one of the most successful redundant churches in the country, yet its potential as a venue is somewhat restricted.
“With the backing of the CCT regeneration team, we have the opportunity now to sensitively enhance this ancient building to meet 21st century needs.
“We would like everybody in the town to feel a sense of ownership over St Peter’s and to have their say in shaping a vision for its future. With Sudbury’s support we will be in a strong position to apply for Heritage Lottery Funding, and greatly enrich what St Peter’s can offer to the town.